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Keeping Your Head Above Water

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Keeping Your Head Above Water

Flood. A single word no one wants to hear. Unlike Noah, the typical notification of water heading your way is short to nonexistent.  Water starts filling the streets turning your once land locked building into water front property. Before you start gathering fire wood and naming your volley ball Wilson, there are some things you should know.

Flood is defined as surface water coming in through doors and windows.

This means that a burst pipe in the basement is not considered a flood. It is classified as a covered peril. This is an important distinction for two reasons.

1. Standard Insurance Policies DO NOT typically cover flood claims. They do however provide coverage for any covered peril.  
2. FEMA is the only carrier that provides flood insurance.

Set Scene: There is a flood warning in your county. You have a basement which most likely will end up taking on some water. What should you do? What coverage is available?

Even if you have purchased a flood policy, FEMA does not cover basements. They will cover electrical damage, ie a water heater if it’s located in your basement, but not the basement itself.

Your standard insurance policy does not typically cover floods. This includes any damage to your contents as a result of a flood.

Taking preventative actions such as relocating the contents of your basement to another level is the best thing you can do. I would even go as far as pulling up the carpet and taking it upstairs. It is far easier and cheaper to reinstall your existing carpet than to purchase new due to water damage.

The following are a few things FEMA states on their flood policies.

There is no recourse.
This means even if you disagree with their ruling, it doesn’t matter. What they say goes.

You cannot sue.
Reiterating the first statement there is no recourse. You cannot sue the government.

They reserve the right to change the wording on your policy at any time.
Unlike standard insurance policies that state your limits, coverages and exclusions, FEMA can change any of those items listed on your policy at any time regardless of what it said when you purchased it.

How do you know if you’re in a flood zone? Below is a link to the FEMA flood Map Service Center. Simply type in your address to see where your stand. FEMA FLOOD MAP

Your flood zone rate is based on your location and frequency of flooding is used to determine your premium. This could be high or low depending on frequency and severity of flooding. Even if you’re not in a flood zone you can purchase insurance. The premium will typically be on the lower end since your frequency is not high.  Regardless of whether you’re listed in a flood, if you’re looking at purchasing a policy the most important thing you can do is read it! Read the coverages so you know what you are getting for your money.  There is never a down side to being informed. 

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Welcome to our Risk Management Minute Blog! My name is Jessica and I joined the First Insurance Group team in 2008. I began working in the Church Division in 2009 and as part of my job began to learn about the specific needs Churches face in regards to Risk Management. We have made it our goal to not only supply you with relevant information, but to take the work out of risk management by creating forms for you to print and use. Have questions on a topic we have yet to cover? Let me know! I will gladly do the research and provide any information I can.

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