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The follies of flood insurance

HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD READ THE FINE PRINT

People often ask me what flood insurance does and does not cover. Flood Insurance is a very valuable coverage in our area because even a small flood in your home can cause over $50,000 in damage. A flood is water that rises from overflow, rain runoff or erosion. If your hot water heater drains water throughout your home, this is not considered flooding, and you would need to file your claim on your home insurance. But if the water enters your home from outside, there is generally coverage under a flood insurance policy. 

Areas that are prone to flooding require that homes and commercial buildings be raised for protection. If your home or commercial building is raised, you will save money on the cost of your flood insurance. Most items in the raised section are covered, including the building and foundation, the electrical and plumbing, the HVAC system and the appliances. Coverage also is available for debris removal and flood damage cleanup. 

Personal belongings in your home are covered separately on a flood policy, and you will need to verify that your policy includes the coverage. Contents are settled at actual cash value at the time of a claim, so depreciation will be applied during the claim for your personal belongings. 

Unfortunately, for a raised structure, items located below the raised floor generally are not protected by your flood insurance policy. So, anything stored in a crawlspace or any enclosure below the elevated floor would not be covered. 

Other exclusions for flood insurance include: 

  • Any items stored outside of a building, such as plants, trees, fencing or pools 
  • Mold or mildew damage that could have been mitigated 
  • Damage below ground, including septic or drains 
  • Temporary housing following a flood loss 
  • Expenses associated with loss of business income 
  • Vehicles (coverage may be available under your auto insurance) 

Most flood policies include coverage for cost of compliance up to $30,000, to be used for flood mitigation or debris removal. You will need to check with your agent and review your policy to verify if you have this coverage available and the process for making a claim. 

Many private flood markets are becoming available in our area and are offering enhanced coverages, including replacement cost on contents, temporary housing and lost business income. Check with your insurance agent for your options. 

Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Please investigate this valuable coverage even if your area has never flooded before. 


Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is president of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach her at www.southgroupgulfcoast.com, (228) 385-1177 or azeringue@southgroup.net. 

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