Home Insurance Covers Basement Floods, Right?

And where you might be left exposed
Flooded basement

A flooded basement can not only ruin your day, but also personal property and even parts of the structure of your home. Wet carpeting might not be the biggest concern you have after a basement flood. Many folks don't actually realize that home insurance doesn't cover all causes of basement flooding.

Luckily, an independent insurance agent can help you find the right type of home insurance and other coverages necessary for those pesky basement floods. They'll get you covered against these disasters and many others. But until then, let's talk more about flooded basements and how and when insurance covers them.

How Common and Costly Are Basement Floods?

Basement floods happen more frequently than you might expect, and their damage often comes with hefty price tags. Check out just a few stats on basement floods and see for yourself.

  • Every day, about 14,000 people in the US face a water damage emergency at home or work.
  • An estimated 98% of all basements in US homes will be impacted by water damage at some point.
  • Water damage and mold result in about $2.5 billion spent by insurance companies annually.
  • Just one water damage claim averages $6,965.

Knowing just how serious a threat basement flooding is can provide further inspiration to call up your independent insurance agent to get equipped with the protection you need.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Basement Floods?

Only very few causes of water damage within the home are covered by homeowners insurance. It's most likely that you'd need a separate policy called flood insurance to protect your home against most causes of basement flooding. Make sure to ask your independent insurance agent about adding flood insurance to further protect your home against many sources of flooding, including heavy rainfall and more.

Instances When Home Insurance Typically Covers Flood Damage

Home insurance only covers accidental water damage, for example:

  • Broken pipes: Broken plumbing can be considered an accident by homeowners insurance, and the resulting flood would likely be covered by home insurance.
  • Broken appliances: Air conditioning units or sprinkler systems that accidentally break and lead to water damage make up another cause of covered flooding by home insurance.

According to insurance expert Jeffery Green, even with these causes of basement flooding, your home insurance coverage would pay to repair the water damage but not the unit or system itself. So, if your washing machine breaks and floods your basement, you could receive reimbursement for the water damage, but you'd still be on the hook for replacing the appliance yourself.


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Instances Where Home Insurance Typically Doesn't Cover Flood Damage

Green stressed that all water damage is excluded from home insurance except accidental water damage resulting from a broken pipe or other plumbing appliance. Other causes of basement flooding or water damage are excluded from home insurance.

These causes of basement flooding are not covered by home insurance:

  • Heavy rainfall and other storms: Only flood insurance covers water damage and flooding caused by natural sources such as storms.
  • Sump pumps: Unless you specifically purchased an endorsement for your sump pump, water damage resulting from a broken sump pump would be excluded by home insurance.
  • Sewage backups: Sewer backup coverage is another available endorsement that can be added to home insurance, but without it, your policy won't cover water damage related to a backed-up sewer.
  • Foundation leaks: Water damage in older homes with cracked foundations or homes that weren't constructed properly, resulting in seepage through the foundation, isn't covered by home insurance.
  • Lack of maintenance: It's the homeowner's responsibility to maintain their home, so insurance companies won't cover water damage caused by failure to maintain your plumbing, etc.

Being familiar with all the instances in which water damage isn't covered by home insurance can help you avoid potential shocks after a disaster happens. To prevent losses from many types of flooding and water damage, get equipped with a flood insurance policy ahead of time.

Additional Coverages to Consider to Help Protect against Flooding

Fortunately, there are additional coverages that can be added to your home insurance to protect against many different types of water damage and basement flooding, including:

  • Flood insurance: Flood insurance is sold as a separate coverage, usually available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Coverage is an essential element to consider adding to your home insurance, especially if you live in a flood zone. 
  • Endorsements: Sewer backup and sump pump failure/water backup endorsements are optional coverages that you can add to your home insurance policy. They're designed to cover water damage, etc., caused by backed-up sewers or sump pumps, which is excluded by regular home insurance.

Talk to your independent insurance agent about any concerns you may have about basement floods or other types of flooding within or around your home. They can help you add all the extra policies and endorsements you need to be fully protected.


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How Do I Know if I Need Flood Insurance?

If you're at all concerned about your home flooding, you might want to look into getting flood insurance. But there are a few key risk factors that could make you want to add coverage sooner rather than later, including:

  • If you live in a designated flood zone
  • If you're required to purchase coverage by your mortgage lender, which will likely be the case if you live in a high-risk flood zone
  • If you can't afford to pay $21,000, or the average amount of damage that just one inch of standing water in the home can cause, out of your own pocket

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has determined that more than 20,000 US counties are potential flood zones. Most homeowners buy flood insurance through the NFIP, which is a part of FEMA. However, an independent insurance agent can help you find a policy, even if it's sold by the Federal government.

Consider buying flood insurance ASAP since there's a 30-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective. Also, be sure to review these examples of when your home insurance will and won't cover basement flooding or other types of water damage. Unexpected home flooding happens so frequently and can be so costly, that you really can't afford to go without the right coverage for long.

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agent?

Independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.

Independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best home insurance and flood insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

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