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Flood insurance is vital to protecting your home

June 2, 2014

Few things are as frustrating as coming home from a summer vacation and finding your house was damaged in a storm. You're ready to unpack your bag and kick off your shoes, but instead you might be standing in an inch of water.

Will your homeowners insurance policy cover the water damage?

Most homeowners insurance policies don't protect against flood damage.
It might sound crazy, but that generally depends on where the water came from. In most cases, if the water damage came from above—because of falling rain seeping in through the roof, doors or windows—your homeowners insurance policy should pick up the tab.

However, if the damage was caused by flooding, you are likely out of luck. There's one avenue to go down if you want to protect yourself from flooding, and that's buying flood insurance. Flood insurance is especially important for homeowners living by a large body of water, whether it be the ocean, a river or lake. But insurers understand this, and typically, flood insurance is more expensive for those living in high-risk areas?

According to Frank Skarvelis, a floodplain administrator in Florida's Brevard County, he's constantly dealing with people who want to know where the high-risk zones are located.

“There are a lot of people scrambling now who own beach side and beach front condos,” Skarvelis told USA Today. “Flood insurance premiums go up dramatically when you're in a costal high-hazard area.”

Better act fast if your home is in a danger zone

Homeowners residing in Sedona, Arizona, who were impacted by the recent Slide Fire are being encouraged to acquire flood insurance as soon as possible, according to KTAR Radio in Phoenix.

Nicole Farr of the Arizona Insurance Council told KTAR the fire has created a high risk for flooding. The problem stems from the dense brush and foliage that was recently burned away. Those plants absorbed a lot of water, leaving rain water nowhere to go but down into the city. Farr said the area's monsoon rains should be arriving soon, prompting her to alert homeowners about the perils of flooding.

“Because there is a 30-day waiting period before most policies go into effect, we urge home and business owners to contact their insurance agent or representative and the National Flood Insurance Program as soon as possible,” she said. “Flood insurance must be purchased separately from homeowner's insurance.”