Water damage can be one of the most expensive repairs you ever have to make to a home. Water and moisture can get trapped under floors, behind walls, and even inside of air ducts, causing extensive damage to the home’s structure and your furnishings. Unless fully remediated, it can facilitate the growth of mold and create an uninhabitable environment.
When your home is damaged by water, you may assume your homeowners insurance will take care of the bill. While that may be true in some limited scenarios, some of the biggest damages – usually from flooding or sewer backup – are probably excluded from your coverage. Continue reading to find out how you can better protect yourself and your home against the risk of water damage.
Insurance for Flood Damages
Homeowners who live in a flood zone are usually required to purchase flood insurance by their mortgage lenders. For those who do not have mortgages or live outside of high-risk regions, the coverage is generally discretionary. However, the Insurance Information Institute recommends that everyone – regardless of risk – consider flood insurance as a preventative measure. Floods can happen to anyone at any time under the right conditions. You never know when a ‘perfect storm’ of rapid snowmelt, heavy rainfall, and changes to your surrounding topography could lead to a first-time flood. Unless you have insurance, you will probably be responsible for the damages.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the average flood insurance claim in 2015 was $43,000. If that sounds like a lot, consider that it only takes about 4 inches of flood water inside a 2,000 square foot home to cause that level of damage. If your home becomes submerged even further, your home could be a total loss. To get an idea of your current risk for flooding, you can visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center or check out these animated flood risk scenarios at FloodSmart.gov.
We here at Mayville Insurance can help you obtain flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, but we recommend doing it sooner rather than later. Unlike other types of insurance that become effective immediately, flood insurance usually carries a 30-day waiting period before coverage is activated.
Other Suggested Coverage
Flooding is not the only type of water damage excluded from most homeowners insurance policies. You might also be vulnerable if you are not covered for sewer and water backup, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars in cleanup and repair costs as well.
A backup is caused when a blockage in your drain or sewer line prevents water from draining away from your property and causes it to backup into your home. This could be caused by an invasive tree root system that has grown into your pipes or by an over-filled sewer and storm drain during heavy rains. Not only can this create an unsanitary mess, but it can also create an uninhabitable environment, requiring you to seek temporary shelter elsewhere.
Fortunately, homeowners can easily protect themselves against sewer and water backups by contacting one of our agents to ask about a sewer and water backup endorsement. These endorsements can be added to a homeowners insurance policy at a very small cost, which covers damages from backups up to the limits listed within the policy.
Is your home protected against all types of water damage?