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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.floodsmart.gov).
- You can check your flood risk by typing the property address into the One-Step Flood Risk Profile (www.floodsmart.gov) from the NFIP.
- 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 lines 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.