What is the difference between flood insurance and water backup protection? Doesn’t your homeowners insurance protect you against water damage? These are the types of questions many homeowners have every day when faced with a water-related loss. While it is possible to protect yourself against most water-related scenarios, the details surrounding that coverage can be a little murky. Continue reading to learn what your homeowners insurance pays for and why you may need additional coverage to minimize your risks.
Water Related Losses
Insurance companies define water damages according to what caused them. Certain types of damages are covered under most standard homeowners insurance policies. Others require additional coverage in the form of an endorsement or a separate policy. The four primary types of water-related losses include:
The first two types – overflow and discharge – may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy if they occur as a result of a sudden and accidental event. In other words, the event that caused the overflow or discharge cannot be related to a maintenance issue. Chronically leaky pipes are not ‘sudden and accidental,’ but a frozen pipe that unexpectedly bursts is.
The last two types of losses are not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. Backup refers to water or raw sewage that backs up into your home due to a problem with your drainage system. Since homeowners are responsible for the upkeep of pipelines on their private property, any blockages that prevent proper drainage are your responsibility to fix. Without insurance protection for sewage backup, you could be responsible for paying thousands of dollars in repair and clean-up costs out of your own pocket.
Flooding is also excluded from homeowners coverage. Floods are collectively the worst natural disaster by cost and damage in the U.S. every year, yet many people go without insurance protection. It occurs when surface water accumulates around your home and rises over the foundation. Whether due to melting Minnesota snow, heavy rains, or a creek that has overflowed its banks, just two inches of water can cost more than $20,000 in repairs for a typical 2,000 square-foot home.
Suggested Additional Coverage
Here at the Andreotti Agency, we typically recommend that homeowners invest in additional coverage for sewer backups and flooding. Water and sewer backup protection varies from insurer to insurer, but it can easily be added to a homeowners policy in the form of an endorsement.
Flood insurance, on the other hand, requires a separate insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Coverage is offered to all homeowners, and premiums are calculated based on risks outlined in community flood zoning maps. You can find out more about your personal flood risk by visiting the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.
Many people benefit from flood insurance even if they think will never need it. According to the NFIP, one in five flood insurance claims come from policy-holders who live outside of high-risk areas. Even if you have never experienced flooding before, environmental changes, evolving weather patterns, and community land developments could lead to future damages.
Flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective. Talk with an agent here at the Andreotti Agency for assistance in acquiring flood protection.
Do you have coverage for water backups and flooding?