Test Your Water IQ: How Much Coverage Does Your Homeowners Insurance Provide Against Water

By Gary Bangstad on December 11th, 2009

Homeowners Insurance

If you have a homeowners insurance policy or renters insurance, you've taken the first step to protecting your property. But are you covered if the following circumstances were to occur:

  • A water pipe bursts in your basement
  • A slow drip upstairs damages your ceiling
  • Your sewer backs up into your house during a flood
  • Ice dams build up causing your roof to leak
  • A storm causes a hole in your roof or window followed by rain damage

Any of these situations could occur, but you may not be fully covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy.

Coverage 101

For starters, a top-down and bottom-up rule makes it easier to remember what typically is and isn't covered under your homeowners insurance.

  • Top-down is covered: It's important to know that most homeowners insurance as a standalone product does not cover flood damage.If the damage comes from the top down, homeowners insurance generally does cover it. So, the hole in the roof and the burst pipe, which are top-down damages, are covered. However, your homeowners policy probably doesn't cover the slow drip, which is considered a maintenance problem that should have been fixed right way
  • Bottom-up is not covered: If damage comes from the bottom up, homeowners insurance generally does not pay for it. Although homeowners insurance provides protection against a variety of water related damage, you still should obtain flood insurance to cover the backed up sewer or the river water and resulting sludge in your living room

The Rules

You can purchase flood insurance from licensed agents and brokers with property and casualty companies who represent the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) in their National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Nearly ninety homeowners insurance companies participate in this program. You can find the participating companies in your state through the FEMA website under the National Flood Insurance Program.

However, you are only eligible to purchase flood insurance if your community participates in the NFIP flood program. According to floodsmart.gov, the official site of the NFIP, "Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding."

Most federal government relief from floods usually come in the form of no-interest or low-interest loans that you must pay back. Only 10% of floods result in aid through a federally declared disaster area. Therefore, obtaining flood insurance is the best way of protecting yourself from these disasters.

Get A+ Coverage

Many people don't think they are at risk, but floods and flash floods occur in all fifty states and one out of four (26%) flood claims come from people outside of flood risk areas. Flood damage is a greater problem than most people think. That is why you should know what is in your homeowners policy and how to protect yourself from devastating damages to your home and its contents.

Also, be aware that there is a thirty day waiting period from the time that you apply and the time that the policy goes into effect.

The Cost

The good news is that typical flood insurance is affordable. Insurance costs vary depending on where you live, by entering your zip code when you visit compuquotes.com you can receive up to five free homeowners insurance quotes.

Source :
FEMA -- National Flood Insurance Program • http://www.fema.govhttp://www.fema.gov./nfipInsurance/search.results.jsp
About The National Flood Insurance Program: Overview • http://www.floodsmart.govhttp://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/about/nfip_overview.jsp
Flood Insurance For Your Home • Oct 29, 2009 • http://www.Insurance Information Institutehttp://www.iii.org
Spring Showers Combined With Melting Snow Could Create Widespread Flooding • Mar 03, 2004 • http://www.iii.org/media/updates/archive/press.736028/index.html http://www. Insurance Information Institute

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