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Why Do I Need a Separate Flood Insurance Policy?

homeowners insuranceThis is a common question in the homeowner’s insurance industry. Some property owners are confused about their homeowner’s insurance policies, and wonder why they have insurance coverage for pretty much any type of catastrophe except for flood damage. Sadly, even more homeowners aren’t even aware that their policy won’t cover flood damage – until it’s too late.

The bottom line is that most standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. If your property is located in a high risk flood area, your mortgage company probably requires you to carry flood insurance. For everyone else, purchasing such a policy is voluntary. But it’s important to keep in mind that floods can happen anywhere that it rains, which is most places.

So does my homeowner’s insurance policy cover water damage?

In California, insurance companies define water damage as damage caused to your home by water before it touches the ground. So, for example, if your roof is damaged during heavy rains and sweeps into your home, that is considered a flood. Unless you have a flood insurance policy, that damage to your home will not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. The really unfortunate thing is that flood damage is typically much more costly than water damage events which rarely destroy the entire home.

To protect your home from floods, make sure the slope of your yard directs water away from the house. If you have a basement, install a sump pump with battery backup, and pooling of water in that scenario, so make sure your yard is prepared.