Flood and Water Damage MN – Wondering About Your Insurance Coverage For Water & Flood Damage?
The spring thaw may seem a long way off. But it’s not. It is often said about Minnesota that we have two seasons—winter and road construction! With spring rains and spring flooding just around the corner, and there are things people can be doing today to help ensure they’re as prepared as possible should flooding occur in their area. The first thing people should consider – even those in low-risk flood zones or areas which have never flooded before – is purchasing flood insurance.
According to an interactive tool on NFIP’s website just 2 inches of water could cost you $7,800 in cleanup. And over the past 10 years, the average flood claim has amounted to over $33,000.
Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 12-16
Learn more about flood risks and what steps you can take before, during and after a flood.
You may figure that if you are in a serious flood that federal disaster assistance will pay for your damage, right? Wrong! Federal disaster assistance comes in the form of a low-interest loan, not a grant, and only if the President formally declares a disaster.
You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Check the Community Status Book to see if your community is already an NFIP partner. Consumers should be aware that flood insurance policies generally take 30 days to go into effect. For more information on flood insurance, and to find out your flood risk, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Flooded Basement?
Here’s a question thousands of homeowners and renters will be asking now that Spring is just around the corner. Will insurance cover the water damage in my basement? Unfortunately for most the answer is “probably not.” Standard Homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage from flooding, so unless you have a specific flood insurance policy, you will have to foot the bill for any water damage from the recent rains. The Insurance Information Institute offers this rule of thumb: water that comes from top down (ice dams, for example) is generally covered, but when water comes from the bottom up, such as in flooding, it’s not covered.
Homeowners Insurance Is Not Flood Insurance!
Only Flood Insurance Will Cover Your Flood Losses
If an individual relies on a homeowners insurance policy to cover whatever flood damage occurs, the result will not be favorable to the property owner. Only flood insurance will cover such losses. Because flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period, property owners should not let an imminent flooding force a decision to obtain this insurance.
There are two basic insurance policies that deal with a homeowner’s damage due to water — a flood insurance policy and a homeowner’s insurance policy. Losses not covered by one of these policies may be covered by the another policy. Knowing the losses to which your home could be exposed will help you decide whether to buy one or both of these insurance coverages.
While insurance policies may differ in the coverages provided, often there are basic features common to all policies. The homeowner should ask his or her insurance professional about the specifics of one’s specific insurance policy. In the meantime, the following general information is based on standard insurance policies.
As the name implies, a standard flood insurance policy, which is made available by the National Flood Insurance Program, provides coverage up to the policy limit for damage caused by flood. The dictionary defines “flood” as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word “rising” in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage.
Also important to note is that flooding must be general and temporary, and it must affect more than just one property. Generally, damage caused by water that has been on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered to be flood damage.
Examples of flood damage may include:
- A nearby river overflows its banks and washes into your home.
- Surface water caused by a heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can’t absorb the water quickly enough.
- A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.
Flood damage to your home can be insured only with a flood insurance policy — no other insurance will cover flood damage. Flood insurance is available through your insurance professional. To determine if your home is located in a flood plain, contact your county planning office. If you are living in a flood plain, flood insurance may be an excellent purchase.
A homeowners insurance policy does not provide coverage for flood damage, but it does provide coverage for many types of water damage to your home. Just the opposite from flood damage, for insurance purposes, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground.
A few examples of water damage may include:
- A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain free access to your home.
- A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
- A broken water pipe spews water in your home
Even if your homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover the water or flood damage you’ve experienced, losses from theft, fire or explosion resulting from that damage are covered. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your possessions after you’ve evacuated the house, the theft would be covered by your homeowners insurance. However, the flood damage would be covered only if you have flood insurance.
Flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage for water damage. Instead, they complement each other. It is up to you to talk to your insurance professional about flood insurance and homeowners insurance and then decide which insurance coverage you need to protect your home, its contents and your family.
Flood Insurance Information for Minnesotans: Flood Insurance Brochure
Water Damage | Water Damage Insurance
Water damage cleanup, repair and restoration can be a costly operation, and surely you’d want to receive financial help from your home insurance policy. In fact, water damage is one of the top reasons why most home insurance plan holders make claims.
Unfortunately, home insurance tends to be tricky when it comes to water damage, which is why many people have had negative experiences when claiming insurance benefits for their water damaged house.
The biggest challenge in making a water damage insurance claim lies in determining whether your water damage problem is covered by your policy. But even if you are uncertain about whether your insurance plan will cover your water damage expenses, it is still best to report any water damage incident to your provider.
Water Damage Insurance Reporting
Even in the panic of finding your home flooded, don’t forget to call up your insurance company to report the damage. Ask them about the step by step process they require in making a claim, and you may also ask for some recommendations on which water damage companies you can trust. You are not obliged to heed their advice, but there’s no harm in including the recommended companies in your comparisons when you ask for quotes. If you have had any kind of water intrusion, a proper inspection by a Certified (IICRC) Water Damage Restoration Professional can help detect water intrusion issues early, saving thousands of dollars in repairs costs.