What to know while trying to figure out if you need flood insurance

Many homeowners learn the hard way that their homeowners’ insurance policy doesn’t cover property damaged by hurricanes or floods.

Now,  Florence has many homeowners checking and double-checking their insurance policies – what is covered, what’s not, do they have flood insurance, etc.

Carl Carlson, CEO of Carlson Financial tells us what typical home insurance policies cover in an event like a hurricane or flooding.

Wind-related damage is a peril typically covered by a standard home policy. However, some policies may charge a higher deductible if the damage was from a hurricane, than your normal deductible. This is something you can choose when you are shopping for a home policy. There may also be some protection for water damage if it was a result of wind damage, i.e. a tree hit your roof causing rain to get in, Carlson explained. He added most home policies do NOT cover flooding, you would have to add a separate flood insurance policy.

Most flood policies will cover up to a maximum of $250,000 for property and $100,000 for contents, but there are many things they will not cover, so make sure you have what you need, Carlson said.

When figuring out what may not be covered, Carlson said water must come from outside your home, so pipes bursting, or toilet overflow doesn’t count, it must be a large flood, covering over two acres or affecting at least one other property, swimming pools and landscaping are excluded and Improvements and most contents in below-ground areas are not covered, such as a basement or garage.

For someone who realizes they might not have adequate coverage, is it too late for them to make a change?

Carlson said unlike other types of insurance, flood insurance does not provide coverage on day one. Most commonly there is a 30-day waiting period for making any claims. If you live in a high-risk area, you shouldn’t delay in purchasing it. In addition to damage from hurricanes, a flood insurance policy will also protect you from losses from other causes, such as heavy or prolonged rainstorms, coastal storm surges, snow melt, clogged storm drainage systems, levee dam failures, and mudslides.

According to FEMA, almost 25% of all flood insurance claims come from areas with low-to-moderate flood risk.