If you were fortunate enough to have flood insurance for your home, you probably had never given too much thought to your flood insurance policy. You may have received a crash-course in it following last month’s horrific statewide flooding, or are now considering picking it up.
For those who are covered under the National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA, or looking to be covered by it, do you know what it does and does not cover?
Here is a list from FloodSmart.gov of both property and contents that are covered under the plan. For a full explanation of coverage, visit the NFIP’s Summary of Coverage. If you’re covered through your own private insurance, ask your agent for details concerning your specific policy.
- 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; other than garages, detached buildings require a separate building property policy)
- Debris removal
Personal Contents Property
- Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- 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
- Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
What’s Not Covered
- 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
- Most self-propelled vehicles, such as cars, including their parts
Flood Insurance for Basements and Areas below the Lowest Elevated Floor
- Coverage is limited in basements regardless of zone or date of construction. It’s also limited in areas below the lowest elevated floor, depending on the flood zone and date of construction. 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”
- Enclosed areas under other types of elevated buildingsAll of this information is good to know following a flood as you’re working to put your life back together, but even better to understand before a disaster strikes. Planning for the future is critical to minimize the effects of a disaster.
If flood insurance isn’t required in your area, or you don’t yet have it, still consider picking up a policy— just do your homework first. Many things you would think would be covered, such as hotel during displacement or home repairs, are not covered by the NFIP but many other things are that will help out immensely should we ever experience another “1,000-year flood.”
To best prepare, consider setting money aside in an emergency fund for unexpected costs that are not covered by your insurance policy, whether it be private or through the federal program.