Flood insurance is a stand-alone policy and provides insurance coverage against property loss from flooding. Flooding is defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area, or two or more properties (at least of which is your property) from “overflow of inland waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, and mudflows”.
I Already Have a Homeowners Insurance Policy, Isn’t This Covered?
No. Home insurance does NOT provide coverage for flood damage. Only flood insurance covers the cost of rebuilding after a flood. Typically, at the time of purchase/sale of your property, your real estate agent and your city/township will let you know if you are in a flood zone that requires you to have a flood insurance policy. These flood zones are determined by FEMA.
Types of Flood Insurance
The most common type of flood policy is thru the national Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and FEMA. There are also private flood insurance companies available as well.
If you own your home – including condominiums and townhomes – the NFIP offers flood insurance policies to cover your home’s structure and belongings.
- What’s Covered: Your foundation, electrical and plumbing, appliances, electronics, personal belongings, etc.
- Coverage Limits: Up to $250K for the building and up to $100K for the building contents, subject to the policy deductible of your choosing.
What about Federal Disaster Assistance?
Federal disaster assistance is only made available when there is a Presidential disaster declaration, and most flood events do not result in a declaration. Disaster assistance typically comes in the form of loans that must be repaid – with interest! Flood insurance does not have to be paid back and it is designed to restore your property to its pre-disaster condition.
Filing a Claim
It is important that you contact Aitken & Ormond right away if you need to file a claim on your flood insurance policy. This is the one type of policy where the claims process is VERY time-sensitive and where no exceptions are made if deadlines are missed. Once we are able to assist you in filing your initial claim, the rest of the process is handled by FEMA claims adjusters. They make the determination of coverage and payout at the time of the loss.
Dealing with a loss can be a very emotional time for any homeowner. We recommend taking photos of your home and belongings before a loss occurs so that you have some record of your items as you are determining damages. It’s also very helpful to immediately take photos of the damages done by the flooding so that your adjuster has as much information to work with as possible.
We would be happy to assist you with your current flood policy. We also have resources available if you are in need of purchasing a flood policy for your property!
Written by: Jennifer Nasto