Late last year, Superstorm Sandy victims abruptly learned how devastating – and costly – water damage can be to their home. In fact, a recent study by the National Flood Insurance Program found that just one inch of water throughout a 2,000 square foot home can cost a homeowner almost $21,000 in damages.
Many of those homeowners affected by Sandy were surprised they didn’t have some of the protection they believed they did. It is often assumed that a standard homeowner’s policy covers damages from flooding and water back-up of sewers and drains. However, in many cases, this is simply not true.
A standard homeowner’s policy specifically excludes any damages caused by a flood. Homeowners must purchase flood coverage through specialized policies which are backed by the U.S. Government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allows private insurers to write and administer policies for NFIP. Like many homeowners’ policies, flood insurance is written for a one-year term and normally has a 30-day waiting period.
NFIP defines a flood as “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land areas or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the insured’s property) from:
Overflow of inland or tidal water
The unusual and rapid accumulation or run off of surface waters from any source; or
Mudflow (a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water)”
Water Back-up of Sewers and Drain Coverage
Water back-up of sewers and drain coverage is available from most insurers as an endorsement (an addition) to a standard homeowner’s policy. It covers losses or damage caused by water that has accidentally escaped from a sewer, drain, storm drain, sump, septic tank, eaves trough or downspout. Water back-up is one of the most common causes of loss for homeowners. Some of the main causes of sewer backup include:
• Aging Sewer Systems
• Combined Pipelines
• Blockages due to tree roots
• Sanitary Main
• Overload to a drainage system
Purchasing insurance offers the best protection from financial losses due to flooding. While it may seem like an extra, unnecessary expense now, the premium is much more affordable than what the cost would be after the damage is done.
Contact the RCM&D Private Client Division to help ensure that you have the proper coverage in place before flood or water back-up damage occurs. Through a complimentary and efficient personal insurance policy evaluation we can address coverage gaps and policy enhancements while providing competitive solutions.
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