What happens when your home is inundated with water? Is this disaster covered by your standard homeowner’s policy? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Damage caused to your home by flooding waters is not covered anywhere in your basic homeowner’s policy. Unfortunately, many people learn that this statement is untrue when it is too late.
Having flood insurance is the only way to be somewhat safe when it comes to your home protecting your home from water damage. Across the United States, only about 20% of the homes that are at risk for flooding are covered by some type of flood insurance. Most major private coverage providers do not want to insure people against flooding because of adverse selection. This means that the number of people who are making claims against flooding damage is greater than the number of people who want to protect their homes from the possibility of flood damage, so private insurers see this as something that will not bring them any profit.
However, in certain flood prone areas, the government requires that flood insurance be purchased in order to secure mortgage loans from federally accredited agencies. This coverage does not go into effect until thirty days after the policy has been purchased, unless the person lives in a floodplain. This purchase of flood coverage, provided by the government, went into effect in 1968 under the National Flood Insurance Program. Many people have criticized this program because it helps people rebuild in areas that are vulnerable to flooding, without any of their premiums ever going up. Homes and areas that were flooded over twenty times are still able to be covered without the threat of rising premiums.
Flooding is defined as inundation of an area of two or more acres, or two or more properties that are usually dry land. Flooding can be brought on by hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, levee breaches, and other natural disasters. Unfortunately, if flooding occurs due to an earthquake, the damage from flooding is not covered by the earthquake insurance. Flood damage is not covered under any other type of policy a homeowner could hold.
In the United Kingdom people who are living in a flood prone area are supposed to flood proof their homes, or they risk facing much higher coverage premiums. In Canada, no flooding coverage even exists.
Flood coverage is an argument that has been fought about for decades, but until you live in an area that is threatened by flooding, a person will never understand how important it is to have the government’s support behind the coverage.