Although Ohio isn’t known for major weather catastrophes, the surge of heavy rains over the past few years have caused way more flooding than we’ve ever seen. Even within our small county (Logan), several small villages have experienced damaging flooding.
So it’s natural that after heavily damaging rains, we get calls from customers asking if the flood damage is covered. Our answer depends on the type of policy it is. Since car and homeowners insurance questions are the most common we receive, we’ll discuss the answers below. Let’s start with car insurance.
Does my car insurance cover flood damage?
At its most basic, a car insurance policy has two main parts.
- Liability coverage- covers bodily injury and property damage to OTHERS.
- Physical damage coverage- covers damage to YOUR vehicle.
So it makes sense that if we want to know if OUR vehicle is covered for flood, we’d look at the physical damage portion since that covers OUR vehicle.
Simplifying even further, physical damage coverage has two possible parts.
- Comprehensive coverage- covers fire, theft, vandalism, hitting an animal, falling objects, glass breakage, flood (YAY!).
- Collision coverage- overturn or upset, contact with an object other than an animal (guardrail, tree, other vehicle, etc.), most single vehicle accidents.
If your vehicle is caught in a flood, is damaged and you have comprehensive on that vehicle, you’ll have coverage for that damage. Comprehensive often has a deductible, so the claim check would be written minus the deductible. A note: comprehensive coverage is also called “Other than Collision”. They mean the same thing.
The opposite holds true- if you don’t have Comprehensive on a vehicle that suffers flood damage, then you would pay the repairs out of pocket.
Let’s move onto homeowners insurance.
Does my homeowners insurance cover flood damage?
99.9% of homeowners insurance policies exclude flood. Period. End of story. There MAY be a handful of companies that offer a limited flood endorsement, but those are few and far between (see below for an example).
To get flood coverage for your home, you must buy a flood insurance policy. Although we do not sell flood insurance, you CAN contact the National Flood Insurance Program help center at 800-427-4661 for a referral in your area.
For additional resources regarding flood insurance, visit FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (including FAQ, definitions and how policies are rated).
What is a limited flood endorsement?
A limited flood endorsement is a “rider” tacked onto a property policy, like a homeowners policy. The coverage is “limited”, for example, in the dollar amount of coverage it provides. Perhaps the coverage options are $10,000, $25,000 or $50,000. Depending on which you choose, that’s the maximum the policy will pay for the flood damage.
For example, one of our companies, Buckeye State Mutual, offers an Inland Flood coverage. It’s designed to work in conjunction with water backup coverage and provide coverage where the water backup does not.
The Inland Flood coverage covers typical flood damage, such as damage to a residence, personal property (including property in a basement), loss of use and debris removal (subject to property eligibility).You must have Water Backup coverage to have the Inland Flood endorsement, and the coverage limit and deductibles must match. For example, if you have $10,000 for Water Backup you would be required to have $10,000 for Inland Flood and the deductible for both would also have to be the same ($500 for example). Higher limits are available. Most Water Backup claims we’ve seen average between $5000 and $10,000 for payout.
* It’s important to note that this endorsement does NOT take the place of a flood insurance policy nor is available in areas where FEMA mandates flood insurance. Some additional guidelines/requirements also apply.
Here’s how the limited flood endorsement would work
Classic example……..A creek behind a home overflows and water enters the basement through the windows. The sump pump can’t handle the water, so the basement fills with water. Why doesn’t water backup apply here? Because the reason the incident happened in the first place is the creek overflowing and that’s excluded under water backup- this type of water is typically referred to as surface water runoff. Inland Flood would pay for clean up and repair or replacement of damage up to coverage limit and subject to deductible.
It’s not full blown flood insurance coverage, but certainly a welcome addition to bridge the gap between water backup and flood claims.