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In Touch With 21st - March 2014

The difference between water and flood damage

difference between flood and water damage

You return home to find your living room flooded. Will your insurance policy cover this loss? That depends on the type of insurance you chose to purchase, and how the water entered your house.

Types of insurance that can help

There are two types of policies that cover losses caused by water, homeowners insurance and flood insurance. These policies provide two different types of coverage that complement each other, but may not overlap.

Homeowners insurance. Most homeowner policies cover damage to your home caused by a sudden and accidental water event, such as a burst pipe, wind- or storm-driven rain or melting snow. Water damage caused by poor home maintenance such as overfilled gutters, a poorly maintained roof, and condensation buildup due to inadequate ventilation or unrepaired leaks will generally not be covered. Also, a homeowners policy doesn’t protect against flood damage.

Flood insurance. While flood damage to your home and its contents is not covered under your homeowners policy, it could be covered by a separate flood insurance policy, available through the National Flood Insurance Program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if you purchase this type of policy. A flood is defined as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word "rising" in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage.

Flood insurance is available to homeowners and renters, for both personal and commercial properties. The cost of this insurance will vary depending on the amount of insurance purchased, what is covered and a property’s flood risk. Note that it typically takes 30 days for flood insurance to take effect from the date of purchase.

What to do when water damage occurs

If water damage occurs to your property, such as with a storm, it is important to dry all wet areas and provide air circulation to aid in the drying process. Also, cover any exposed areas of the dwelling with a tarp to prevent further water damage. Covering exposed areas along with drying and dehumidifying wet areas can help minimize the possibility that mold will form due to the water damage. Always contact your insurance agent immediately to start the home owners insurance claims process.

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: fema.gov

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