Water Water Everywhere
Water. We love it when it’s clean and tasty. We love it when it makes our gardens grow. We love swimming in it or watching it in fountains, waterfalls, and oceans.
We love water as long as it stays where it’s supposed to be. But that life-giving, cleansing force can be powerful and destructive despite our best efforts to tame or contain it.
• Every water-based system or appliance, whether it’s a sink or a dam, will eventually need maintenance or replacement.
• No building code can guarantee a structure will withstand a relentless barrage of tidal surges.
• No stormwater drainage system can be endlessly effective when hammered for unprecedented periods of time by unprecedented amounts of rainfall or snowmelt.
And cleaning up the mess floodwater leaves behind isn’t cheap. One inch can easily cause $25,000 or more in damage to your home.
Depending on the cause of that damage, it may be insurable by your homeowner’s insurance. Or it may be covered by flood Insurance. Or you may have to pay out of pocket.
Flood insurance covers damage claims arising from the overflow of a body of water or the accumulation of surface water due to events like torrential rain, snowmelt, mudflow, or storm surge.
Flood insurance doesn’t normally cover water damage resulting from a mundane event, like a burst pipe or an overflowing appliance — even though your home may flood dramatically. Some homeowner insurance policies cover common sources of water damage, but others don’t. Be safe and review your policy with an Almeida and Carlson agent.
No Flood Insurance? Do You Feel Lucky?
Every homeowner should consider purchasing flood insurance. If you wait until you need it, you won’t be able to buy it in time to help you. Flood insurance normally includes a 30-day waiting period between the date of purchase and the date coverage takes effect.
Flood insurance is typically provided by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through insurance agents who sell the policies on its behalf. Limits on NFIP insurance policies are capped and may not be enough to fully repair or replace a flood-damaged home and its contents. For this reason, many insurance companies offer special flood policies — often called “excess” — that offer additional dollars to pay for flood claims.
Many of the 12% of U.S. homeowners who now have flood insurance were required to purchase it by their mortgage lender because their home is in a FEMA-defined “flood zone.”
But FEMA also reports that 20% of flood damage occurs outside of designated “flood zones,” and flood maps are often redrawn due to changes in development, weather patterns, and stormwater drainage systems.
It’s in the Forecast
While flooding events are unpredictable, when it comes to flood water itself, there are four universal truths:
1. There’s more of it there than you think.
2. There’s more coming than you think.
3. It’s moving faster than you think.
4. It’s more powerful than you think.
Don’t let your eyes or instincts deceive you. Flood water easily destroys things and can kill you.
Once you appreciate that, you’re in a good position to protect yourself, your things, and your financial well-being the next time water sloshes or rages through your neck of the woods.
Talk with your Almeida and Carlson agents to learn about primary and excess flood insurance for your home and its contents. And remember, don’t delay: That next storm may be less than 30 days away!
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