We are pleased to have yet another guest blogger: Debra McPhee, CIC, CPCU, Owner of Suburban Insurance Agency of Holbrook, MA, and a very qualified Massachusetts Flood Insurance Agent. Debbie is here to write about flood insurance, a timely topic given the recent March floods.
A flood can devastate your home and your financial security. Any flood—even a small one—can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Even homeowners in low to moderate-risk zones are at risk. Up to 25% of all flood claims come from people living outside high-risk zones.
Flooding happens anywhere including right here in Massachusetts. Just recently, floods hit nearby towns. People discovered the hard way that when it comes to floods, no one is safe. You don’t have to live near a major waterway to be flooded. Sudden severe storms can cause flooding. Just because it has never flooded in your area, doesn’t mean it won’t.
You might think that your Homeowners insurance covers flooding, but it doesn’t. It covers all kinds of things, but not flooding. Flood insurance gives your home that crucial layer of protection your Homeowners insurance doesn’t provide.
What Is The Definition A “Flood”?
In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry. Anywhere it rains, it can flood. A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.
Myth: Flood Insurance Costs Too Much
You might be surprised how inexpensive it is. The average flood insurance policy costs less than $570 per year. Most homeowners live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for coverage at a preferred rate with building and contents coverage for one low price. In fact, building and contents coverage starts at just $119 per year. If you live in a high-risk area, a standard rated policy is the only option for you. It offers separate building and contents coverage. If your home is in a high-risk flood area and you have obtained a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy.
How to Purchase Flood Insurance
Flood Insurance is written through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program authorized by FEMA. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. You need to contact a Massachusetts Flood Insurance Agent for a quote and/or application (all policies written by the NFIP are written through insurance agents).
Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period—from the date you purchase the flood insurance—before the policy goes into effect. The waiting period, however, does not apply to a new home purchase or refinancing of a mortgage if the mortgagee requires flood insurance.
What is Covered by Flood Insurance – and What’s Not
What’s covered under Building?
- The insured building and its foundation.
- The electrical and plumbing systems.
- Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters.
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers.
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor.
- Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets.
- Window blinds.
- Detached garages for up to 10% of the building limit; other detached buildings require a separate Flood policy
What’s covered under Personal Property?
- Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronics
- Portable and window air conditioners.
- Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers.
- Carpets not included in building coverage
- Clothes washers and dryers.
- Food freezers and the food in them.
What’s never covered by flood insurance?
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner.
- Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates.
- Property and belongings outside of a building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools.
- Living expenses such as temporary housing.
- Self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts.
Limitations to coverage in a basement
- Coverage in a basement is very limited. It includes cleanup expense and items such as furnaces, water heaters, washers and dryers, air conditioners, freezers, utility connections, and pumps.
- There is no coverage for the contents of a finished basement and improvements, such as finished walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Personal property located in a basement is not covered.
Please call me, Debra McPhee, CIC, CPCU at Suburban Insurance Agent at 781-767-3300 and let’s talk about your flood insurance needs. Don’t let a flood wash away your financial future.