W^H? The Holmes Murphy Blog

  • A ‘Flood’ of Knowledge About Insurance

    Do you live next to a body of water — a creek, river, or lake? If your answer is ‘no,’ you may think the topic of flood insurance doesn’t relate to you. After all, what do you have to be worried about…you’re not near water so there’s no chance of flooding or other water-related issues, right? Unfortunately, that’s wrong. This blog and the information in it really impacts everyone.

    Here are a couple of fun facts to illustrate my point. Did you know that water damage is the #1 homeowner insurance claim in the U.S.? The chance for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is 10 percent, while the chance for the same home to be destroyed by a water-related loss is over 25 percent. The subject of flooding is really pertinent right now in the Des Moines-area where I live, as we just had one of the largest flood events in history. But, water-related loss doesn’t discriminate — no matter what state you live in or how close to a body of water your home is! 

    There are some different types of water-related issues, though…and I’d like to spell out their differences and how/if they’re covered by insurance.

    Flooding

    First up is flooding. The most important note on this is that flood damage is not a covered peril on a standard homeowner’s policy.

    Again, you may be thinking flood insurance is meant for people who live near rivers, creeks, or on the coast, but this simply isn’t true. Floods can happen just about anywhere — the desert (crazy, right?!), during snowmelt, during heavy rainfall in developed areas, or anywhere the ground is too dry/hard and isn’t able to absorb excess water. Erosion or inadequate drainage can also lead to floods or mudslides. This is why having flood insurance is so important. Flooding can damage the foundation, structure, walls, floors, and furniture of a home. While flooding is an excluded peril on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, you can protect yourself with flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance program. It’s easy to get and often very affordable.

    Water/Sewer Backup

    Water and sewer backup can occur when torrential downpours overwhelm the sewer and drainage systems. If your sump pump and backup valve fail, water and sewage can back up into your home’s drains, bringing water or, worse, raw sewage into your home. No one wants to deal with that! So, what should you do? Check into insurance and what all is covered! Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude water/sewer backup coverage. However, this coverage can often be added to your policy for a minimal charge. Often insurance companies offer a standard $5,000 to $10,000 in coverage. However, depending on the size of your house, this may only cover a fraction of the damage.

    Broken Pipes

    Yep…the dreaded broken pipes…a nightmare if you have to deal with it. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage for damage resulting from sudden breaks of pipes and leaks inside the home. The key here is that water damage must be the result of a sudden break or leak. Water damage as a result of poor maintenance is considered neglect and isn’t covered under a standard home insurance policy. Keep in mind, however, that breaks to outside water and sewer pipes are not covered.

    All of it is tricky…I know! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I work with clients every day to address the types of coverages they have and the types they may want to consider adding (to include flood). I’d be happy to talk with you about your needs or answer any questions you may have!

    Published on: 07.23.18

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