Does home insurance cover flooding?

If you’re wondering whether or not your home insurance covers flooding, the short answer is: it depends on the type of flooding.

First, there is the rising water flood.  These are the types of floods that you will see on the news.  You know, when heavy rains push the river over its banks and the standing water is up to the windows wreaking devastation on entire neighborhoods.  And then there are the more benign types of flooding like pipe breakage floods.  The kind of flood that, while damaging, doesn’t typically result in a total loss.

If the flooding your referencing is the former – the rising water flood – then the answer is unfortunately, no, your home insurance does not cover it.  If you’re looking for this type of coverage, then you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.  And while there are certain caveats within the flood insurance policy that determine whether your rising water flood is covered, the policy can typically be purchased at a relatively low cost.

But let’s say that you come home from dinner one night to find water pouring from the house and out of the garage due to a pipe breakage.  Typically, this type of flooding will be covered.  Your insurance policy will most likely cover, subject to your deductible, any damage caused by the flood event.  Be certain to do what you can to mitigate the loss from continuing – such as shutting off the water to your house, using squeegees and mops, and using fans.

Other things you’ll want to do if you experience a flood loss is to take pictures, keep all damaged goods until the insurance company says you can throw them away, and keep all receipts for consideration of reimbursement from the insurance company.  Remember, your insurance company is not in the repair business – they’re in the pay for the repairs business – so document everything.

Lastly, just a quick word of advice.  If you’re going to be leaving your house for an extended time, consider turning the water off to the house before leaving.

For more tips on homeowners insurance, check out this article on deciding whether or not to file a claim on your home insurance.

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