Experts: Flood insurance may be worth the extra cost, even if you don’t live in a flood zone
Tens of thousands of homeowners who suffered damage from the remnants of Ida will now have to file insurance claims as they try to repair and replace what was lost.
When someone’s home is damaged by a storm, it can turn their world upside-down. But insurance industry experts say that there are some things that homeowners should do before they start the process of cleaning up.
“You want to document the loss, because this is going to determine what your insurance claim payout is going to be,” says Michael Barry with Insurance Information Institute.
Barry says that homeowners should not throw any damaged items out until they have already spoken with their insurer.
Homeowners should also be aware of what their insurance policy covers. Homeowners insurance generally covers all wind damage, including tornadoes and other storms.
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But flooding is often a different issue. Flood damage is typically not covered unless there is a separate flood insurance policy.
“When you think about a flood, you’re got to think about water coming from the ground up. So a lot of the things that we’re seeing in the last 24 hours where rivers and creeks and other waterways overflowed, that’s going to be covered under a flood insurance policy,” says Barry.
The one key exception is if the home’s sump pump couldn’t handle the torrential rains. That may be covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Homeowners should check their individual policies for details.
Barry urges all homeowners to consider buying flood insurance for the future. For anyone who lives outside of a flood zone, coverage is optional. But one may be able to get $250,000 of coverage for only a few hundred dollars a year.
“Just because you’re not near the Atlantic Ocean or Long Island Sound doesn’t mean it might not flood near you. So a flood insurance policy is certainly something to look into,” says Barry.
What about if a tree falls on one’s home during a storm, but it is their neighbor’s tree? Insurance experts say that whoever has the damage should file the claim and then let the insurance companies work it out.