Is Basement Flooding Covered by Home Insurance?
You’ve purchased your dream home in Florida, and now you want to protect it. One of the most important questions you can ask is whether your Florida home insurance covers basement flooding. Unfortunately, the answer is: it depends.
Is Basement Flooding Covered by My Florida Home Insurance?
When It IS Covered
Most standard policies cover sudden, accidental damage due to unforeseen circumstances that are not related to the weather (more on this later). If a basement appliance, like your washing machine or a water heater, causes water damage, this will usually be covered. However, bear in mind that if you’ve been neglecting regular maintenance on your appliances, the claim might be denied.
You’re also usually covered if the water damage comes from an accidental overflow or discharge from something like a broken pipe or when a container like a sink is filled to capacity and beyond and water spills over. In these cases, your insurance will likely cover damage to your flooring, anything you’re storing in the basement, and damage to the basement itself, but it would not cover the cost of replacing a faulty appliance.
When It’s NOT Covered
For most Floridians, the weather is the main culprit in basement flood damage, and that’s where the average general homeowner’s policy will not cover you. Examples of these types of floods include seepage of water from underground, flooding from rain and storm surges, sewer backups, and damage from a sump pump flood. For those last two, however, you can often add an endorsement to your policy to cover them.
It’s also important to note that “hurricane insurance,” which naturally sounds very attractive to anyone living in Florida, will actually not cover your flood damage. It only covers wind damage, not water damage.
How to Keep Your Basement Safe
Your first line of defense against basement flooding is to get flood insurance. Flood insurance is required in many flood-prone areas, but just because your particular street isn’t a designated high-risk area doesn’t mean there’s no chance your home will flood in a storm. Flood insurance is crucial.
Important Things to Know About Flood Insurance
If you buy flood insurance, know that it normally won’t kick in for 30 days. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which you can review at the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Some Things Aren’t Covered
Even if you have flood insurance, it usually doesn’t cover additional living expenses, any damage that comes from a condition primarily confined to just the damaged home, losses caused by a power failure off a property, or losses due to a homeowner’s failure to make a reasonable attempt to protect and save property right after the flood.
Read the Basement Fine Print
For basements, things can get tricky. Your posts, pilings, and utility connections should be covered, but things like rugs, paneling, and linoleum likely will not be. You also want to be sure the flood insurance specifically covers your basement at the level where it sits in relation to sea level.
For help to make sure you’re completely covered, visit Absolute Choice Insurance today and talk to a professional about your options. We offer fast, affordable quotes specific to the needs of Florida homeowners.