Will my Florida homeowners insurance policy cover water damage? Why do I even need flood insurance?  We get these questions all the time. It really depends on the type of coverage you have on the house and what caused the water to enter.

There are two different policies that cover water damage to a dwelling and those are the Homeowners insurance policy and then a separate Flood insurance policy to go along with it. It’s important to note that a typical Florida Homeowners Insurance Policy Does Not Cover Flood Damage. A Commercial Property or Homeowners policy typically excludes water damage that results from rising water, from backed up sewers, or water that seeps up through the foundation or the basement.

Knowing your exposure to risk will help you to determine whether the extra Flood insurance policy may be needed.

A standard Flood insurance policy provides coverage up to the policy limits for damage caused by flood. The dictionary defines “flood” as rising and overflowing of water onto normally dry land. For the purpose of insurance “rising” is the key to distinguish flood damage from water damage. Basically damage that has occurred from water that has been on the ground at some point before causing damage to your home is considered flood damage, and would not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

Here’s an example:

A tropical storm sits over the area for a few days dropping abnormal amounts of rainfall, causing overflowing retention ponds , rivers and creeks to flood the surrounding areas causing widespread damage to property from rising water.

Flood coverage is also for any type of flooding event including a water main break, swimming pool collapses and floods your home, blocked culverts back up water into your home, drains, etc.

This type of damage can only be covered by a Flood Insurance Policy, as No Other Insurance Will Cover Flood Damage.

 

Some common questions on Flood Insurance:

 

Is flood coverage only available in flood prone areas or “zoned” areas?

A: No. Flood coverage is available to anyone. It does not matter whether you live inside a flood plain or not.  However you must live in a participating community which has agreed and adopted minimum ordinances in the 100 year flood plain area.

 

Is there more than one option for purchasing flood insurance other than through the National Flood Insurance Program?

A: Since 1983 NFIP has allowed insurance carriers to write and service flood insurance. The companies handle marketing, policy processing and claims. NFIP develops the rates, rules and regulation. All companies must use the same rates and rules.

 

What are the deductibles and how are they applied?

A: Standard Deductibles are $2,000 for Pre-Firm (built prior to 1974) rated building: $1,000 for Post-Firm (built after 1974) rated buildings; $1,000 deductible for flood zones B,C,X, A99. Optional deductibles are offered up to $5,000 for Residential and $50,000 for Commercial.

 

Homeowners / Commercial Property Insurance

 

Homeowners Insurance policies such as the H03 do not cover Flood damage, but they do provide coverage for many types of water damage to your property. Just the opposite from Flood damage, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground. Here are some examples:

 

-Spontaneous exploding appliances like your water heater.

-Broken pipes or hoses from your washing machine or ice maker.

-Burst pipes as a result of freezing ( unless the pipes freeze  from your own negligence).

-A Heavy rain soaks the roof allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling. Some policies cover water damage that results from rain or storm (although this can vary policy to policy).

-A hailstorm smashes your window, allowing hail and rain to gain access to your home. A broken water pipe or spews water into your home and damages the dwelling.

It’s important to understand that flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage.  They work together and complement each other.

It’s up to you to talk to your agent about flood insurance and homeowners insurance, and then decide which coverage you need to protect your home, its contents and your family.