Does Your Home Insurance Cover a Flooded Basement?
Water damage ranks among the most common and costly sources of home insurance claims. But whether your home insurance covers a flooded basement is a bit of a soggy subject. In short, some home insurance policies cover water-damaged basements and others do not.
As explained by the Insurance Information Institute, water that comes from the top down, such as rain, generally is covered under a standard home insurance policy.
Also, a standard home insurance policy provides coverage for burst pipes and for damage resulting from ice dams on your roof, the Insurance Information Institute says. Some policies cover sewer backups and drain backups, but many do not. You can buy a sewer backup “rider,” or add-on, to a home insurance policy for roughly $50 a year, the Institute also advises.
Water that comes from the bottom up, such as an overflowing river, normally is not covered by a standard home insurance policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Instead, you must buy a separate flood insurance to cover losses from “bottom up” water damage. The federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and some private insurers sell flood insurance.
Unfortunately, not every type of water damage in your basement is covered by flood insurance.
Before we dive into what’s covered and not covered, let’s be clear on what qualifies as a basement. The NFIP defines a basement as any area of a home with a floor that’s below the natural ground level on all sides.
Here’s the NFIP’s list of what’s covered under the building portion of a flood insurance policy (as long as it’s connected to a power source or it’s installed where it’s supposed to be located):
- Sump pumps.
- Well-water tanks and pumps, as well as cisterns, along with the water inside them.
- Oil tanks and the oil inside them.
- Natural gas tanks and the gas inside them.
- Pumps and tanks used for solar energy.
- Furnaces, hot water heaters, air conditioners and heat pumps.
- Electrical junction and circuit-breaker boxes and required utility connections.
- Elements of the foundation.
- Stairways, staircases, elevators and dumbwaiters.
- Unpainted drywall and ceilings, including fiberglass insulation.
- Flood cleanup services.
For the contents coverage section of a flood insurance policy, clothes washers, clothes dryers, food freezers and the food inside food freezers are covered.
The NFIP encourages homeowners to obtain both building and contents coverage when buying a flood insurance policy.
Keep in mind that many items in your basement are not covered by flood insurance. Flood insurance does not cover basement improvements or items that are not required to make the home “safe, sanitary or functional,” the NFIP says. This includes carpeting, finished walls, paint, floors, ceilings, furniture and personal belongings.
So, given all that, should you buy flood insurance to cover your basement and other parts of your house?
In some cases, you might be required to carry flood insurance. The NFIP says homes in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders must have flood insurance. Although flood insurance is not federally mandated if you live in a moderate- to low-risk flood area, your lender still might demand that you get it, according to the NFIP.
Additionally, if you live in a high-risk flood zone and you’ve received federal disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following a presidentially declared disaster, you must have flood insurance in order to qualify for federal disaster aid in the future.
Even if you live outside a flood zone, the Insurance Information Institute recommends considering flood insurance if your home could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or pond, or water flowing down a steep hill.
The NFIP — the best-known provider of flood insurance in the U.S. —offers coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of a home and up to $100,000 for personal belongings. An NFIP policy covers the amount of money needed to rebuild your home the way it was before it was damaged. But the policy covers only the current value of your belongings, meaning it might cost you more to replace them than they’re worth now.
Best advice? Be prepared, act now, and protect your largest investment – your home! Make sure you have expert contractors to waterproof your basement. Innovative Basement Authority is a Family & Veteran-founded business that has been in business for almost 15 years! This is their specialty and they pride themselves in providing you the highest quality, state-of-at products, and certified technicians to help you answer your questions; helping keep you, your family, & home safe.
Basement waterproofing is essential for many homes. This protection for your home has been known to:
- Prevent basement flooding
- Lower heating and cooling costs
- Protect sump pumps
- Provides basement floor protection
- Prevents structural damage
- Reduces cost of insurance claims
- Provides a healthier environment for your home
Your home needs basement waterproofing if you notice the following:
- Damp, Musty Odors
- Presence of Mold & Mildew
- Cracks in the Walls or Floor – even barely noticeable cracks!
- Bowed Walls
- Visible Efflorescence – chalky white substance on walls and/or floor
- Water Marks on Walls
Contact the experts at Innovative Basement Authority today for a free no-obligation quote today!
Trust Us to Restore Your Home & Your Peace of Mind.