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What Every California Homeowner Needs to Know about Flood Insurance

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States and Golden State residents are particularly vulnerable. Every single county in California has been declared a flood disaster more than once and estimates indicate that 20% of California residents are at risk of damage should a flood occur. Flood insurance naturally won’t prevent damage caused by rapidly rising waters, but it will help a homeowner get back on his or her feet by providing compensation to make up for structural damage and damage to some forms of personal property. 

What About Home Insurance? 

Most home insurance policies don’t cover flood insurance, which means that one would have to purchase a separate policy either from the same insurer that provides home insurance or a different insurer. A flood insurance policy won’t come into effect until thirty days after it has been purchased unless one lives in an area that is at high risk for flooding. In such an instance, one’s mortgage lender will require the homeowner to purchase flood insurance and the policy will take effect immediately after purchase. 

What is Covered by Flood Insurance? 

Generally speaking, a flood insurance policy will cover direct, physical property loss caused by an overflow of tidal or inland waters and/or an unusual or fast accusation or runoff of surface waters from any source. Mudflow damage is also covered by flood insurance. Areas of the house covered by this form of insurance include the home’s walls, flooring, roof, built-in appliances, cabinets, furnaces, water heaters, the central AC unit, plumbing, and electrical systems. In short, if it is attached to the house, it is considered part of the physical structure of the home and will be covered by most flood insurance policies. In addition to repairing structural damage and replacing damaged built-in appliances and cabinets, flood insurance will also cover the cost of cleaning the home and removing debris. 

Flood insurance also covers damage to personal property inside the home. The compensation can be used to either repair items or replace them if they cannot be fixed. Personal property covered under a flood insurance policy includes appliances that are not attached to the home’s structure, electronics, clothes, furniture, window-mounted AC units, valuable artwork, jewelry, and furs. 

What Isn’t Covered by Flood Insurance? 

Flood insurance doesn’t cover flooding damage caused by an earthquake or another form of earth movement, including erosion, sinkholes, and landslides. This form of insurance also does not cover damage caused by a broken hot water system or sewage overflow. While the damage caused by a broken hot water heater will likely be covered by a regular home insurance policy, most homeowners would need separate coverage to provide compensation for sewage overflow damage. Flooding caused by pipes isn’t covered in most cases, but some policies provide coverage if the damage was caused by circumstances that were beyond a homeowner’s control. 

There are also some forms of structural damage and certain types of personal property that won’t be covered under a flood insurance policy. Trees and plants inside and outside the home aren’t covered. Fences, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, patios, and decks are likewise not covered by flood insurance coverage. Precious metal and cash aren’t covered. A homeowner’s vehicles are not covered but personal items that happened to be in the vehicle at the time may be covered under a policy. Homeowners who want to cover their vehicle for damage caused by flooding should take out a comprehensive vehicle insurance policy. 

How to Choose Flood Insurance 

It is important to choose a company that has a high standard of ethics and a track record for providing good coverage and an efficient claims process. It is also important to ensure that all needed forms of coverage are included in the policy. Read the policy carefully before signing, so there are no unpleasant surprises when claiming compensation at a later date. It’s wise to check not only what is covered but also coverage limits on expensive items as flood insurance may not cover the full value of particularly costly personal possessions. It is also wise to avoid the temptation to raise the deductible on the policy in order to save money short term. If flooding occurs, homeowners with a high deductible may have to pay high out-of-pocket fees before claiming compensation. 

Grand Mutual Insurance Services (GMIS) offers flood insurance that can be purchase either with a home insurance policy or on its own. The firm is known for its integrity, efficiency, and a high standard of customer service that makes it easy for any homeowner to learn more about flood insurance coverage options and find the policy that best suits his or her needs and budget. Get in touch today to learn more or pick a flood insurance policy that will provide fast, adequate compensation should flooding occur. 

Have questions or need a quote?

Call our GMIS team at 888.732.5994 or email us at [email protected] to discuss creating a customized policy plan to protect you and what matters most.

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