What Is The Definition A “Flood”?
In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry. Anywhere it rains, it can flood. A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.
Myth: Flood Insurance Costs Too Much
You might be surprised how inexpensive it is. The average flood insurance policy costs less than $570 per year. Most homeowners live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for coverage at a preferred rate with building and contents coverage for one low price. In fact, building and contents coverage starts at just $119 per year. If you live in a high-risk area, a standard rated policy is the only option for you. It offers separate building and contents coverage. If your home is in a high-risk flood area and you have obtained a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy.
How to Purchase Flood Insurance
Flood Insurance is written through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program authorized by FEMA. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. You need to contact a Massachusetts Flood Insurance Agent for a quote and/or application (all policies written by the NFIP are written through insurance agents). Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period—from the date you purchase the flood insurance—before the policy goes into effect. The waiting period, however, does not apply to a new home purchase or refinancing of a mortgage if the mortgagee requires flood insurance.
What is Covered by Flood Insurance – and What’s Not
The following is a summary of items covered and not covered by flood insurance. For specific details as to what is covered, you have to refer to the actual policy.
What’s covered under Building?
- The insured building and its foundation.
- The electrical and plumbing systems.
- Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters.
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers.
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor.
- Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets.
- Window blinds.
- Detached garages for up to 10% of the building limit; other detached buildings require a separate Flood policy
What’s covered under Personal Property?
- Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronics
- Portable and window air conditioners.
- Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers.
- Carpets not included in building coverage
- Clothes washers and dryers.
- Food freezers and the food in them.
What’s never covered by flood insurance?
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner.
- Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates.
- Property and belongings outside of a building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools.
- Living expenses such as temporary housing.
- Self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts.
Limitations to coverage in a basement