Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is That Considered A Flood?

With all of the heavy, heavy rains we've been getting across the city of Colorado Springs and surrounding areas (and the flooding that's been coming along with it), it seems like a good idea to make sure you know what is and is not considered a flood as well as what is and is not covered under most home insurance policies when it comes to flood damage.

First, what is considered a flood? The dictionary defines "flood" as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes however, the word "rising" is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage. Generally, damage caused by natural flowing water that comes from the sky OR water that has been on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered to be flood damage. A handful of examples of flood damage include:
  1. A nearby river overflows its banks and washes into your home
  2. A heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can't absorb the water quickly enough
  3. A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home
  4. Your home is located at the bottom of a hill or in an area that water runs through, filling your window wells and damaging your basement
Photo examples of what insurance considers to be a flood include:

The above pictures are from a recent storm here in Colorado Springs and any damage caused by the running water and heavy rain would NOT be covered under your home insurance policy. The last photo was from the same storm, but left a few feet of hail instead of running water. However, for insurance purposes it could still be considered flooding if the hail filled up your window wells and then melted and seeped into your basement, causing damage. In order to be covered for these types of events, you must carry flood insurance.
Flood insurance can be obtained through your local agent, but it is a separate policy from your home insurance and, very important to note, has a 30 day waiting period for coverage to begin UNLESS the policy is required for a loan closing.
The good news about flood insurance is that it is relatively inexpensive if you are not in a flood zone, ranging from $129 - $458 per year for a home owner, depending on the amount of coverage you need and whether or not you have a basement.
If you live near a burn area, there is an increased likelihood of water runoff and water damage because the ground is not able to absorb the rainfall and you may need to consider a flood insurance policy as an extra layer of protection for your home. If your home is located in an area that has a lot of runoff passing through your yard or if you are near a gully or stream, you too may want to purchase a small flood insurance policy for the peace of mind of knowing you would have some assistance if the waters get high again.
To talk about your particular home and situation and find out if you need this additional coverage, contact your local, professional insurance advisor who understands the unique risks that Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and surrounding areas are facing right now. Hopefully you'll never be impacted by flood waters, but if you are, it's important to know that you have the right kind of coverage to protect your home and personal property.