On August 30th Hurricane Ida slammed into the New Orleans Coast; as the storm tracked its way north east it dropped prodigious amounts of rain before exiting off the coast of New York on September 2nd.
Once again many homeowners were caught unprepared and underinsured for this type of rain event. As you know, homeowners insurance does not provide coverage for damage caused by flooding – however, a homeowners policy can provide limited coverage limits for Back of Sewers and Drains and Sump Pump Failure.
Most homeowners insurance carriers provide Back of Sewers and Drains and Sump Pump Failure coverage, however the limits available vary by carrier and are provided for an additional premium. If you have not inquired with your agent or broker about this coverage, it is worth doing so immediately. While this a very important coverage to have on your homeowner’s policy, it must be noted that most carriers include exclusionary wording when Back of a Sewer or Drain or Sump Pump Failure is due to a Flood or Flood related event.
If you have a mortgage on your home and if your home is located in one of these “High Risk” flood zones, your mortgage company will require that you maintain a flood insurance policy on the home for at least the amount of the outstanding mortgage balance (typically up to a max. of $250,000 as this is the maximum limit available through the National Flood Insurance Program for residential properties).
But what can a homeowner do to best protect their home from a flood if they are not in a “High Risk” flood zone? The first thing to do is to make sure you purchase the optional Back of Sewers and Drains and Sump Pump Failure coverage on your homeowners policy – your agent or broker can help guide you on available limits and pricing. You should also get a quote for Flood Insurance even if you home is not located in a “High Risk” flood zone. Remember all properties are located in a flood zone regardless of whether or not the flood zone is considered “High Risk” or not, therefore all properties are eligible for flood insurance. If your home is not in a “High Risk” flood zone the premium for this coverage may be less than you think. Hurricane Ida showed us that your home does not need to be in a “High Risk” flood zone in order to flood – many homes that suffered flood damage were not labeled as“High Risk.”
The experts say that due to global warming we can expect to see more and more severe weather events in the future – therefore, we can expect to see more and more of these severe rain events. It is important that you know what the risks are and the coverages that are available to protect yourself.