Flood insurance: do you really need it?

Do you need flood insurance? You’ll have to decide that based on where you live, whether you’re at risk from flooding, and how the cost of insurance compares to the cost of your property.

Remember that flood damage often continues after the actual flood has subsided. This can look like compromised structural support, permanently damaged furniture, and mold growth.

Remember, if your home were to be destroyed by a storm surge, an insurance company could classify the cause of the destruction as “flooding,” leaving you uninsured and homeless.

Keep in mind that rising temperatures can cause sea levels to rise and create erratic weather patterns. According to many climatologists, this could lead to storms of greater intensity around the world in the coming years.

Only you can decide if you want to buy flood insurance. If you live in a flood-prone area, you can request a quote online or by phone. An insurance quote is free, so you don’t lose anything by asking. You will be pleasantly surprised by the offers you find.

What flood damage is covered by normal insurance policies?

Your insurance policy may cover storm damage and doesn’t specify what type of storm damage, so you may be able to pay for both water and wind damage at once. However, this is generally not the case as insurance professionals want to pay you as little as possible. Usually you cannot repair wind-related damage because it happened at the same time and place as flood damage.

If a flood causes your electrical power to be cut, you may be able to receive compensation for spoiled food and damage to the appliance. However, this only applies to hurricane-related electrical damage. If there is a power outage due to heavy rainfall or flooding of rivers, you will probably not be compensated.

Apartment owners and apartment renters may be able to repair common areas if the landlord or condo co-op has flood insurance for the building. However, unless each individual housing unit has flood insurance, water damage will not be covered for your own living space.

Finally, if a flood makes your home uninhabitable, your standard policy can cover additional living expenses. These expenses include those outside of enduring displacement and finding temporary shelter. The amount provided for additional living expenses is typically 20% of your insurance policy.

What does flood insurance cover?

A flood is defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as a partial or complete inundation of normally dry land due to inland waterway overflow, rapid accumulation of surface water from any source, or mudslides. This type of insurance covers:

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* Any structural damage due to flooding

* Damage to or as a result of electrical and plumbing systems after a flood

* Damage to appliances, heating and cooling equipment

*Wood paneling, cabinets and furniture damage

* Carpet damage and repair

* Damage to personal items such as jewelry and electronics

* Unavoidable mold or mildew damage due to waterlogging

* Debris removal

* All damage to detached garages

What does flood insurance not cover?

Even comprehensive insurance may not fully cover every financial loss due to flooding. These common requests are usually denied by insurance companies:

* Financial losses caused by loss of use of real estate, for example a flooded home office

* Property outside the insured building, e.g. trees, patios, septic systems, gardens, swimming pools, etc.

*Mold and mildew damage due to flooding that could have been avoided by the owner

Ultimately, it’s up to you to buy flood insurance.