Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Any losses you incur because of flooding will come out of your own pocket without a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy. If you think flooding won’t happen in your area, think again. With the monster rainy season experts are predicting, anything can happen.
The NFIP warns that “flood risk isn’t just based on history, it’s also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.” The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Coverage is only available through an authorized agent or broker and cannot be purchased directly from the government.
So what is covered by a NFIP policy?
Building Property: The insured building and its foundation; Electrical and plumbing systems; Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters; Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances such as dishwashers; Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring; Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets; Window blinds; Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy; and Debris removal.
Personal Property: Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment; Curtains; Portable and window air conditioners; Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers; Carpets that are not included in building coverage; Clothing washers and dryers; Food freezers and the food in them; and Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
What is NOT Covered? This is very important to know: Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner; Currency, precious metals and valuable papers such as stock certificates; Property and belongings outside of an insured building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools; Living expenses such as temporary housing; Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property; and Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts.
While most homes in California don’t have basements, where coverage is limited, other areas (below the lowest floor) also have restrictions. These areas include: Crawl spaces under an elevated building; Enclosed areas beneath buildings elevated on full-story foundation walls that are sometimes referred to as “walkout basements;” and Enclosed areas under other types of elevated buildings;
Be sure to speak with your insurance professional to make sure you have all the coverage you need. Don’t be left high and dry.