There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to flood and water damage protection. Far too often, homeowners find out too late that they did not have the coverage they thought they did. Today, we are addressing some of the biggest misconceptions about flood and water damage insurance so that you can make informed decisions about your coverage. We can help you acquire flood and water damage insurance, to give you peace of mind knowing that you are covered.
Myth: Homeowners insurance covers flood damage
The biggest myth is that your homeowners insurance will pay for damages if your home floods. Not only is this not true, but it could prove to be a very expensive misunderstanding. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the average flood damage claim in 2015 was approximately $43,000.
Myth: Federal disaster aid covers home repairs after a flood
Federal disaster assistance is sometimes available after a flood, especially if you live in an area that has been declared a disaster zone. However, it is usually given in the form of a government loan that you must pay back with additional interest. Ultimately, you are still responsible for your own damages out of pocket. On the other hand, a flood insurance policy from NFIP pays you benefits after flooding regardless of whether you live in a disaster area.
Myth: I can purchase flood insurance in advance of a flood
Today’s forecasts can warn of potential flooding days before it happens. Unfortunately, not all floods are predictable. Often times floods occur due to a significant rain event, preceded by frequent smaller showers that saturated the ground. Even if you could predict a flood, you still would not have enough time to purchase last-minute coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program includes a 30-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective.
Myth: I’m not at risk of flooding if I live outside a high-risk flood zone
It’s not just hurricanes that cause floods. Here in Wisconsin, we have many risks, including snowmelt, flood prevention measure failures, heavy rains, multiple bodies of water, and more. Not to mention, history is never a good predictor of future flood activity. While you may be more likely to experience flooding if it has happened before, first-time floods occur all the time due to changing weather patterns, topographical changes, and community developments. You can assess your flood risk by visiting the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.
Myth: My homeowners insurance covers all other water-related losses
Besides flooding, there are many other ways water can enter your home. Damages from overflows and accidental water discharge are typically covered as long as they are not the result of an unresolved home maintenance issue or neglect. For example, damages caused by a pipe that bursts during cold weather are more likely to be covered than damages caused by a pipe that has been slowly leaking under your sink off and on for months or years.
Also, scan your policy for specific exclusions. Usually, your standard homeowners insurance will exclude coverage for water damage caused by a sewer and water backup. While it may sound unlikely, it actually happens more often than you might think. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety reports that drain system failures are among the top five causes of water-related losses in U.S. homes. They can be due to pipeline blockages, collapsed pipelines, invasive tree roots, and overburdened sewer and storm drains that cause raw sewage to back up into your home.
If this ever happens to you, the cleanup, repair, and replacement costs can be an exorbitant expense to pay out of pocket. Fortunately, you can avoid tens of thousands of dollars in potential damages by adding a sewer and water backup endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy. Simply give us a call here at Stauffer-Klug Insurance a call and we can help you protect yourself against sewer and backup damages.