Homeowner and commercial insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage.
If your property is located in a flood-prone area (a "Special Flood Hazard Area"), your lender will likely require you to have flood insurance. Even if you live in a minimal or moderate flood hazard area, you may still want to buy flood insurance.
- Flood insurance is widely available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (www.fema.gov).
- You can check your flood risk by contacting your local insurance agent.
- There are, however, limits to federal flood insurance. For commercial structures, for example, the NFIP maximum is $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents. Even small businesses may need supplemental coverage.
When your policy takes effect
National Flood Insurance Program policies go into effect 30 days after the policy is written, unless the policy is required to qualify for a mortgage.
Surplus line policies typically don't have a waiting period.
Tips on flood cleanup and insurance claims
- Don't attempt to drive through flooded roadways.
- Check for structural damage before re-entering your home or business. Flood-damaged buildings can collapse. Be cautious about gas leaks or energized wiring in flooded basements.
- If you have damage, call your insurer or agent.
- Take photos or video. Make a list of lost or damaged items.
- Even if you didn't have flood insurance, you may qualify for some federal emergency grants or loans.
- Talk to your insurer before making permanent repairs or disposing of damaged property.
- Save receipts from any mitigation efforts (sandbags, pumps, etc.) for possible insurer reimbursement.
- If you have to move, make sure your insurer or agent has a way to reach you.
- Save receipts for temporary repairs, temporary housing, food, etc.