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Does renters insurance cover flood damage?
As a new renter, I’m curious about what all is covered under my insurance. Sometimes I worry about my plumbing system and the possibility of leaks or even flooding.
I'm also unsure whether flooding from a broken pipe would be treated differently than flooding from a storm under my renters insurance policy. I'm nervous about getting stuck with all of these costs. Does renters insurance cover flood damage?
This is a great question, especially because natural flooding is treated differently than flooding from a busted pipe under your renters insurance policy. Let's start with the basics. Renters insurance covers damage to your personal property when there's a loss due to a named peril.
Named perils can be anything from wind damage to theft, however, flooding due to weather is not a named peril. Luckily, water damage that isn't related to weather is. So if you have a busted pipe or a leaky washing machine or dishwasher, you're probably covered.
If you want coverage for flooding due to weather, you'll need a separate policy. You can speak with your independent agent to discuss different flood insurance options. You can also speak with your independent agent about covered water damage unrelated to natural flooding.
What if there's a leak in my unit that causes personal property damage?
As I briefly mentioned above, there are some claims that could be classified as "flooding" that will be covered by your renters insurance. This could be internal damage related to weather in some limited scenarios. Here are some examples where renters insurance will cover personal property damage:
- Broken pipes: If a pipe breaks and causes property damage that ruins your belongings, renters insurance will cover the loss.
- Weather-related damage unrelated to flooding: Keep in mind that renters insurance covers weather-related damage if it's unrelated to flooding. For example, if there's a storm that causes your ceiling to leak and the water damages your personal belongings, you could file a claim. You may want to hold off on a claim because your landlord would be responsible for repairing structural damage and damages that occur as a result.
The rule of thumb is to remember that renters insurance will never cover flooding damage caused by water outside the house. That's what flood insurance is for. If you haven't purchased flood insurance or aren't sure whether you should, talk to your independent agent.
What does flood insurance cover for renters?
All you need to be concerned about as a renter when it comes to flood damage are your personal belongings. That being said, there are certain limits on what a flood insurance policy covers value-wise.
So while you can get your personal property such as clothing, electronics, and furniture covered, you can only cover things like artwork up to $2,500. If you want additional coverage, you can purchase it.
Most people purchase flood insurance in the same amount as their personal property coverage after making an inventory of their property.
If you aren't sure how much flood insurance to buy or want policy options, your independent agent can help.
Should renters buy flood insurance?
If you live in a moderate- to high-risk flood zone, flood insurance is recommended. Even if you live in a low-risk area, you may want flood insurance on the off chance that something happens.
The easiest way to determine which zone you live in is to enter your address in the map on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website. This will give you a brief glimpse into whether you want coverage or whether it might be a good idea even if your risk isn't high.
You can speak with your independent agent about coverage if you're unsure what you need or if you need it.