This disaster could cost you more than 0,000 — and your homeowners insurance won’t cover it
This disaster could cost you more than 0,000 — and your homeowners insurance won’t cover it

Filing a homeowners insurance claim is stressful under the best of circumstances. Even when everything is covered, there’s still a deductible to worry about, and life can be pretty hectic until the repairs are complete. But it is much worse if the insurer denies the claim because the damage is not actually covered by the terms of the policy.

People tend to think that homeowners insurance covers every major accident to their home, but the truth is that there are some pretty significant gaps. And there’s one that could cost more than $100,000. Here’s what homeowners need to know to prepare.

It’s just a little water

Floods may not be as violent as hurricanes or tornadoes, but don’t let that fool you. They can still deal massive damage in a short amount of time. Just one inch of water in a single-story, 2,500-square-foot home can cause $72,162 in damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). And four feet of water could increase the damage to more than $103,000.

Flooding can wash away personal property, destroy appliances and fixtures, and even damage home foundations. And because they’re so expensive, even the best homeowner’s insurance companies don’t cover them. Those interested in this protection should invest in a separate flood insurance policy.

What does flood insurance cover?

A flood insurance policy includes coverage for the home itself, including its:

  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Furnace and boiler
  • Refrigerators, stoves and other built-in appliances
  • Permanently installed carpet
  • Permanently installed cabinets, paneling and bookcases
  • Blinds
  • Foundation walls, fastening systems and stairs
  • Private garages
  • Fuel tanks, well water tanks and pumps and solar energy equipment

It also covers personal property, including:

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  • Personal items such as clothing, furniture and electronics
  • Curtains
  • Washer and dryer
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • microwaves
  • Carpets are not included in the building coverage
  • Valuable items such as original artwork and skins (up to $2,500)

But it doesn’t cover everything. Homeowners will still have to pay for these things themselves:

  • Temporary housing and additional living expenses incurred during home renovations
  • Property outside the insured building, such as landscaping, septic systems, decks and patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools
  • Financial losses caused by business interruption
  • Currency, stock certificates, precious metals and other securities
  • Automobiles and most self-propelled vehicles, including their parts
  • Personal property stored in basements

How to get flood insurance

Homeowners can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Contact a flood insurance provider on the program’s list to get started. Homeowners will need to call the insurer to get started, as it is not possible to get flood insurance quotes online.

Those applying for a mortgage may be required to purchase flood insurance if their new home is in an area at high risk of flooding. They will need to provide proof of insurance to the mortgage lender for the loan to be approved.

Costs will vary depending on the size and construction of the home and its location. Homeowners who live in low-lying or coastal areas are likely to pay more than those who live further inland at higher elevations.

Homeowners who have any questions about the cost and coverage of their flood insurance should contact the NFIP for more information. Keep in mind that all flood insurance has a 30-day grace period, so it’s better not to wait. The sooner a homeowner purchases a policy, the sooner they will be fully protected.

Our picks for the best homeowners insurance companies

There are many homeowners insurance companies to choose from. We researched dozens of options and shortlisted our favorites here. Looking for a green building discount or easy package rules? Want an easy-to-use interface? Read our free expert review and get a quote today.

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