Purchasing a home is likely one of the biggest investments you'll make, so you want to make sure it's protected with the proper amount of home insurance. The onset of spring can mean an increased chance of showers and hurricanes, which could cause many homeowners to think about flooding — especially if they live in high risk areas. Here are a few things to know about flood insurance.
Do All Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover Flooding?
In most cases, a regular homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding. Homeowners insurance covers damage to your property if caused by other means, such as a fire or a tree falling on it, but water damage that results from flooding often is not included in homeowners coverage.
The good news is that you can still obtain coverage for your house with flood insurance, which is available as a separate type of insurance policy.
What Is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is exactly what you'd expect: It provides protection from types of flooding your home may experience.
Flood insurance is a national program that's backed by the federal government via the National Flood Insurance Program, which means you'll pay the same price regardless of who sells you a flood insurance policy.
While it's sold separately from homeowners insurance, purchasing flood insurance is fairly simple and may be required by your mortgage company if you live in an area that has a higher risk of flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers coverage up to $250,000 to protect your home's structure, as well as up to $100,000 to protect what's inside your house.
In most cases, if you're required to have flood insurance, the amount of coverage you should have should match the cost to rebuild your home. If that cost is more than the $250,000 limit that the NFIP offers, you often can purchase higher amounts of coverage from companies offering excess flood coverage to cover the cost of your home.
Remember that if your home would cost $350,000 to rebuild, you should have that much flood insurance coverage to protect yourself.
What Types of Flooding Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance may not cover broken pipes that cause water to pool in your house, but it does cover flooding or rising waters due to sources such as rivers overflowing from melting snow, ocean surge driven by a hurricane, and failed dams or levees. If any of these situations could apply to your home, you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance if it's not already required.
How to Find Out If You're at Risk
The National Flood Insurance Program offers a one-step flood risk profile to determine if your house is in a high-risk flood area. The site also offers helpful information and tools that include how much a flood could actually cost you, types of flood insurance policies, and how to prepare for and recover from a flood.
Where to Buy Flood Insurance
If you determine you need flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you may be able to purchase it from the same insurance agent or company who sold you your homeowners insurance. If your agent doesn't sell flood insurance, you can find one through the NFIP. If you have a Progressive Home Advantage insurance policy, underwritten by select homeowners insurance companies for Progressive, you can contact Progressive or the homeowners insurance company directly to purchase flood insurance, where available.
Keep in mind that flood insurance policies don't start immediately. You must wait 30 days before your policy begins, so the sooner you purchase, the sooner your policy can cover your home.
The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation. Always refer to your insurance policy for your specific coverages.