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Water Damage Compared to Flood Damage in Homeowners Insurance

If you’ve suffered water damage to your home, and you want to make an insurance claim, the first thing you’ll need to do is to determine whether your claim will be for water damage or flood damage. That’s because it’s unlikely that your homeowners insurance covers you for flood damage. Only homeowners who are insured for flooding through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are able to bring flood insurance claims.

The NFIP defines a flood as “a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adds the words “partial or complete” within that language in its definition. Flooding is strictly construed though, and it can only come from one of the following sources:

  • A deluge from inland or tidal waters
  • Unusually fast accumulation or runoff of surface waters
  • Mudflow
  • The collapse of land like a levee resulting in a flood

In a nutshell, what distinguishes a homeowners insurance water damage claim from a claim under the NFIP is where the water comes from. If the source of the water or mud is natural, and two or more properties are involved, the inundation will likely be determined to be a flood event that’s only covered by the NFIP. If you’re suffering water damage, but your neighbor’s property is dry, it’s likely to be a homeowners insurance water damage event. Another general analysis is that if the water hits your house before it hit’s the ground outside of it, you’re looking at a homeowners insurance claim. Just about anything else appears to fall under the NFIP.

Not everybody is eligible for coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal regulations require you to reside in a community that participates in it. To learn more about water damage claims, contact agent today.