We may live in Arizona, far from the coast, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need flood insurance. Flash flooding in the Phoenix area and throughout Arizona can cause serious property damage that most likely isn’t covered under your Homeowner’s policy. In today’s episode Chuck explains why you should consider getting flood insurance even if you live in the desert.
Having just gotten back from Texas and then watching the issues that are occurring currently in Florida I started thinking about flooding in my home. I began looking at my homeowner’s policy. One of the statistics out of Houston was that about 80% of the homes that were flooded did not have flood insurance.
Even though they may not have been on a flood plain they didn’t have any flood insurance what-so-ever. I think that most people, including myself, would think that homeowner’s insurance would cover flooding outside of a flood plain, but that is not the case. If you are a homeowner, or even a renter (you’re renting an apartment or a home) and you’ve got renter’s insurance, you want to look to make sure that any kind of flood will will be covered under your insurance.
In my particular policy that I looked at, If I had — I’m trying to make this very clear because it was even difficult for me to read. There are so many exclusions. If my neighbor’s sewer backed up, causing their sewage water to come onto my property, my Homeowner’s wouldn’t cover it. That doesn’t mean that I couldn’t sue my neighbors I guess and make a claim on their homeowner’s. That’s not a good way to make friends. But my point is the homeowner’s would not cover it.
In other words, if the water originates off your property, and then comes onto your property. Say you live on the foot of a mountain here in Phoenix. If the water comes down off the mountain and then comes into your home, or floods your property. Or you end up with (a lot of insurance carriers use this) “blowing rain” in other words the rain is not directly over your house, it is blowing sideways and then floods your property. There is no coverage.
There is coverage if you have a pipe break in the wall. Let’s say it breaks and floods your living room or bathroom, there is coverage in that. Or if somebody clogs up one of your toilets. This is unless of course the insurance company decides to argue that it was lack of maintenance that caused it, and that is another exclusion.
I started looking into the National Flood Insurance Program which is managed by FEMA. I don’t live in a flood plain, but I have lived through two hundred-year-floods back in the late 70s that are supposed to happen every 100 years and they happened two years in a row, and I know what happened then. I have actually had a flood here too based upon some torrential rain we had about 5 years ago. I started looking at it and it would cost me less than $250 a year to have flood insurance that would cover all of those exclusions in my homeowner’s policy.
My point is, look at your Homeowner’s policy if you own a home. Look at your renter’s policy if you have renter’s insurance. Look at the exclusions relative to flood insurance and your belongings. Now if the wind comes through and rips off your roof, that is covered. Wind damage is always – well not always – but generally speaking is covered. But the rain aftermath, the “blowing rain” and the damage that it causes to the interior of your home and personal belongings after the roof was ripped off would not be covered.
So my point is, pull your Homeowner’s Policy out, look at the exclusions, and if there are a lot of exclusions like most homeowner’s policies, spring for the extra couple-hundred dollars a year. Get the flood insurance that will cover all those things which aren’t covered. That way you won’t end up paying out of pocket like 80% of the people in Houston are going to be to rebuild their homes and replace their personal belongings.