One of the most misunderstood aspects of homeowners insurance is flood insurance. Many people don't realize that if they want to add flood insurance they have to buy it separately; Typical homeowners policies don't offer flood insurance.
Another common mistake homeowners make is that they think that they don't need flood insurance if they don't live close to an ocean or river. The truth is that with the right conditions, any home can be at risk for flooding.
The bottom line is that if it rains where you live, you may be vulnerable to flooding.
As a matter of fact, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States each year.
Not fully understanding what is and isn't covered in your homeowners policy can put you in a precarious position and could put your home at risk if you ever do experience any flooding.
Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is run by FEMA. To be eligible to purchase flood insurance, you will need to verify that your community participates in the program.
The cost for flood insurance can vary widely depending on whether or not you cover your structure alone or if you cover your structure along with the contents. But the biggest determination in how much you pay for your flood insurance will be where you live.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, your premium will be higher. If you live in a high risk area and you have a mortgage you will almost certainly be required to have flood insurance.
Obviously, there is nothing you can do to control the weather, and you can be at risk for a flood with more than just a lot of rain.
For example, homes built near rivers can experience floods from ice jams which can create flooding by blocking the normal flow of the river. This type of flood can be particularly devastating due to the freezing temperatures as well as the weight of the ice.
There are, however, other things that can cause flooding issues in your house. There are also some simple steps you can take to control them:
1. If you have trouble with water in your basement the first place you should look for a solution is the way your lawn is graded near your home. If the ground around your home allows water to pool up against the foundation, it can cause wet basements. Make sure the ground slopes away from your house.
2. Keep all gutters and downspouts clear of debris and in good repair. Add extenders to your downspouts so all the water drains far away from your home.
3. If you do tend to get a lot of water in your basement, you can add a sump pump. It is also important to test it at least annually to make sure it is working properly.
At the end of the day, it's your responsibility to make sure you are adequately insured and protected against as many situations as you can reasonably expect.
Talking to a qualified local insurance agent can answer all the questions you have about your coverage.