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Flood Plain Insurance

Most standard home insurance policies do not have flood insurance or flood coverage. Flood insurance can be purchased separately through the insurance company but ultimately comes from the National Flood Insurance Program regulated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and through companies that are members. Most home insurance policies cover losses from the following:

  • Theft
  • Fire and lightning
  • Frozen pipes
  • Ice and snow
  • Coverage for liability and lawsuits

Requirements for Flood Plain Coverage

For individuals who own homes in flood plains, mortgage lenders and financers will require the individual purchase flood plain home insurance. The flood plain home owners insurance will provide cash value for the losses resulting from flooding. Flood insurance does not generally cover replacement costs like regular home insurance. If, for example, a television was ruined as a result of flooding, the flood insurance will cover the value of the television and not the cost of replacing it. This means that, in general, older items will have less value and therefore will have less cash value if destroyed by a flood.

Flood Plain Insurance Coverage

Flood insurance varies in cost depending on risk factors involved in the home’s location. Flood plain homeowners insurance will host more than that of flood insurance for a house at the top of a hill. Policy rates also vary depending on what is covered under the flood insurance policy. Contents of a structure or home are calculated separately than damage to the structure as a result of a flood. A standard flood plain home insurance policy includes coverage for:

  • Structural damage
  • Furnace, water heater and air conditioner
  • Flood debris clean up
  • Carpeting, tile or other floor surfaces

If the policy covers contents it can include coverage for:

  • Art
  • Collectibles
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Electronics

National Flood Plain Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program considers a flood to be an overflow of any body of water over normally dry land areas. The NFIP defines a flood as “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property)”. Such circumstances can occur as a result of:

  • Storm surge
  • Wave wash
  • Tidal wave
  • River overflow
  • Unusual accumulation of runoff
  • Mudflow
  • Or (from NFIP) “collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels as a result in a flood.”

Damage resulting from interior flooding due to leaky pipes or wind-blown rain is not covered under flood insurance.

The NFIP has limits on how much they will payout for flood insurance claims. If an individual would like to purchase more flood plain home owner insurance, Excess Flood Protection can be purchased through private insurance companies. This Excess Flood Protection will payout more for claims and cover more of the value in a home if the property is damaged in a flood.

Planning Ahead

Flood insurance generally takes 30 days to take effect so individuals must be prepared with flood plain home insurance well before any disaster. Furthermore, flooding must occur in two adjacent properties or two acres in order for the National Flood Insurance Program to consider the event as a flood.

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