Flood insurance is a worthwhile investment for any homeowner who lives in an area where flooding is a frequent problem. In most cases, standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not contain coverage that protects you in the event of a flood. Fortunately, flood insurance is a relatively affordable type of coverage, as it is often government subsidized.
For people who own single-family homes, this is a relatively simple matter. But for people who live in condos, there may be some complications depending on the policies of your homeowners’ association leadership. Condo boards are required by law to work reasonably hard to fully insure itself and the common areas of a condo community. Some boards may try to avoid paying the relatively small expense of flood insurance by claiming the law does not specify which types of insurance policies are required—or by arguing that the property is not in a flood zone.
However, there have been plenty of recent instances of rising water that demonstrate the importance of flood insurance, even for Florida’s high-rise condos. Therefore, a condo board could be considered negligent if it does not make every effort to fully insure itself.
Choosing Flood Insurance
With all this in mind, below are some tips to help you select the best flood insurance policy:
- Understand the basics of flood insurance: Flood insurance may involve two different types of policies: one for the structure (your house) and the other for the contents inside that structure, including all personal possessions. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) places limits on how much coverage it will provide. There is a $250,000 residential limit for structural coverage and a $100,000 contents limit.
- Consider whether you need private coverage: Most homeowners get their flood insurance policies through the NFIP, but private policies are available, as well. These policies tend to be more expensive than NFIP coverage because they price in flood risk. If you think you need more coverage than the limits offered through the government program, this could be a reasonable option for you.
- Know what’s covered: The structure of your house and its foundation are protected under your structural coverage, as are all plumbing and electrical systems. Garages may be insured up to 10 percent of the coverage limit. Other structural elements typically covered include HVAC systems, water heaters, refrigerators, permanently installed paneling and built-in cabinetry and window blinds. Contents coverage includes nearly any type of property, including electronics, furniture and clothing.
- Know what is not covered: Flood insurance does not, for example, cover any damage resulting from preventable mold issues or sewer/drain backups. There are also limitations for what is covered in basements, as they are most at risk for flooding.
To learn more about obtaining flood insurance coverage from the NFIP or a private insurer, or if you need assistance filing a claim, consult a skilled Orlando insurance lawyer with Johnson & Williams, P.A. (407) 245-1268