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Common Flood Insurance Exclusions

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 | June 13, 2019
These common flood insurance exclusions are important for homeowners to consider

Flood is usually excluded from basic homeowners or renters insurance, so most people have to purchase flood insurance separately. It’s becoming increasingly common for flooding to occur throughout the country, even in moderate and low risk areas. Even one inch of water can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage, both to your physical structure and the items inside.

Flood insurance is an important consideration to help protect your home and wallet. Even renters are buying flood insurance to protect their personal property from unexpected issues.

Although it’s a wise benefit to keep your house and family protected, flood insurance doesn’t cover everything. There are still some common exclusions to your flood insurance policy that won’t be covered. It’s important to be aware of these exclusions so you can take precautionary measures to safeguard against any uncovered perils.

So what does flood insurance cover, and what’s typically excluded from flood insurance? 

What does flood insurance cover?

“Flood” refers to the temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2+ acres and two or more properties of dry land. This means that “flood” never refers to any water damage that starts in your house—like your pipes freezing and breaking—or any flood that only impacts your house (at least one neighbor needs to be affected as well).

Common sources of flood include:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Mudflow
  • Rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters or bodies of water
  • Collapse of land along body of water
  • Extreme rains or storm

Learn how to prevent these different kinds of floods with this awesome infographic.

You can purchase flood insurance as a separate policy or as an endorsement on your homeowners insurance. If your insurance company doesn’t offer supplemental flood coverage, you can purchase a flood policy privately or through the federal National Flood Insurance Program. 

Do you need to add on flood insurance? Give one of our licensed insurance advisors a call today at (844) 819-2230 to compare flood insurance quotes.

What flood insurance does cover:

1. Physical structure

Structural parts of your home are usually covered, including foundation walls, anchorage systems, staircases, and permanent paneling, wallboards, cabinets, and bookcases. Keep in mind that the policy only covers damaged structures. So if five of your seven cabinets were destroyed, you would receive compensation for five cabinets, not a complete replacement of your entire kitchen cabinetry. Carpeting and window treatments may also be covered. 

2. Essential systems

Anything is considered “essential” to your home is also usually covered. This includes electrical, plumbing, water heaters, furnaces, central AC, heat pumps, water tanks and pumps, sump pumps, fuel tanks, cisterns, and solar energy equipment.

3. Personal property

Anything listed on your homeowners contents coverage, including appliances, is usually covered under your flood insurance as well. This includes fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, portable window ACs, furniture, clothing, electronics, and other valuables. There may be a limit on your personal property coverage due to flood, so you’ll want to ensure all of your valuables are fully covered with additional riders.

4. Garages

A detached garage used for parking or storage is often included up to 10% of the total building coverage. For example, if you had $100,000 in flood insurance, you could submit a claim up to $10,000 for a detached garage or shed.

5. Certain events

Some scenarios fall under the term “flood.” For example, groundwater seepage or a mudslide might also be considered flooding, even though it doesn’t fall under the technical definition. If a community water main breaks, your flood insurance would cover it as long as it damaged your home and at least one other person’s. Or, let’s say, your neighbor’s swimming pool floods and impacts your home, the damage caused by their flood might be covered under your flood insurance as well.

It’s important to talk to an insurance agent to understand the nuances of your flood insurance. Even if you live in the desert, you could end up with damage from a nearby flood if you don’t take precautions and have the right insurance plan in place. 

What are common flood insurance exclusions?

Flood insurance is pretty all encompassing, but there are still some exclusions to be aware of. Some of these common exclusions are –

1. Sewer backup

Flood insurance won’t cover you if your sewer line or the community sewer line backs up, unless the sewer backup was caused because of another source of flood.

2. Earth movement

Your flood insurance won’t cover loss that is caused by earth movement, even if a flood produces the earth movement. You’ll want to consider earthquake coverage for earth movement-related claims.

3. Mildew or mold

Flood insurance may cover mold or mildew damage that is a direct result of a covered flood. However, it will not cover any moisture-related incidents if it was caused by negligence on the part of the property owner and was not attributable to a flood.

4. Outdoor property

Anything that is outside the walls of your primary structure, except for a detached garage, is usually excluded from flood insurance. Trees, plants, wells, decks, patios, fences, pools, and hot tubs are typically not covered.

5. Vehicles

Most vehicles that are self-propelled, like cars, are not covered under flood. Check to see if your auto insurance will help cover flood damages if your car is parked in a garage or on the street during a flood.

6. Money

Any cash, currency, precious metals, or valuable papers (stock certificates) are typically not covered by flood insurance. This is because it’s hard to prove ownership, so there are higher incidents of fraud.

7. Additional living expenses

Most flood insurance policies won’t help cover any temporary living costs while you’re displaced from your home after a flood. In some cases, your overall homeowners’ policy may offer temporary living expenses for covered perils, but it may not include flood.

8. Internal floods

Flood insurance doesn’t cover any water damage that originates in your house. That means it won’t cover floods from plumbing issues, broken pipes, or sewage backups.

Another important note: most flood insurance policies take 30 days to kick in after purchase. This is the insurer’s safeguard to ensure people aren’t buying flood properties “last minute” after hearing about it on the weather channel.

Check your flood insurance

There are different ways you can cover yourself against floods. Talk to your insurance agent to see if your homeowners insurer offers supplemental flood insurance. If this plan doesn’t work for you, look into federal or private policies. Private policies are becoming more popular because they offer higher limits, potential relocation coverage, and typically have fewer exclusions for moderate to low risk homes. 

P.S. Check out these 11 safety features that can lower your homeowners premiums to offset the cost of purchasing additional flood insurance!


Not sure if your flood insurance is comprehensive enough for your situation? We can help. Give one of our expert insurance advisors a call today at (844) 819-2230.

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