If your home were saturated with water, how would you pay for the damages? Would your insurance pick up the bill, or would you be stuck paying out of pocket? Arizona may be one of the driest states in the U.S., but that does not make it immune to flooding. In fact, we have many different flooding hazards that could put homeowners at risk. Continue reading to learn what types of water damage are covered under your policy and why it may be time to consider flood insurance.
Arizona Flood Hazards
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cites some unique flood hazards specifically for residents of Arizona. When wildfires burn away natural growing vegetation, it can leave behind burnt ground that tends to repel water. When rain falls in these areas, it can produce a debris flow that flows toward low-lying areas. Another flood hazard in Arizona is the risk of a dry wash, which occurs when heavy rains fall on very dry land, causing water to surge toward low-lying areas. This is all in addition to normal flood hazards, such as rapidly melting snow caps, river flooding, and dam breaks.
Insurance for Floods
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance does not provide coverage for flood damages. Flood insurance is only available from the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. Flood insurance from NFIP is designed to help you clean up and repair your home after a flood. It can also pay to replace damaged contents inside your home, such as your furniture, rugs, drapes and more.
Data shows that the average cost of flood insurance damage claims in 2015 was $43,000. Imagine paying for that much damage out of pocket. Worse, imagine being blindsided by the damages because you live in an area that has never flooded before. This is the scenario for far too many homeowners who make decisions about flood insurance based on history rather than updated flood zoning, changing weather patterns, and topographical changes.
Flood insurance from the NFIP is available through Imes Insurance Associates. There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective, so we recommend purchasing your policy sooner rather than later.
Understanding Homeowners Insurance Water Damage Coverage
Though your homeowners insurance policy will not cover flooding, it may cover other water-related losses, although limitations vary from insurer to insurer. A typical policy might offer coverage for accidental and sudden events that lead to an overflow or discharge of water in your home. Examples might include an upstairs sink faucet that was left running overnight or a washing machine hose that becomes dislodged during use.
You should not expect your policy to cover any damages caused by problems that could have been prevented through normal home maintenance, however. If an insurance company determines that the water damage to the cabinets under your sink was caused by a slow and chronic leak that was never properly fixed, your claim is more likely to be denied.
Sewer and Water Backup
Standard homeowners insurance policies often include exclusions for sewer and water backup. This occurs when a blockage in your home’s drain pipes cause raw sewage or water to back up into your home. The damages can be significant and can even make your home temporarily uninhabitable. Fortunately, specific coverage for sewer and water backup is available in the form of an endorsement on your current homeowners insurance policy.
Do you have sewer and water backup protection on your insurance? If not, contact us at Imes Insurance Associates to add an endorsement to your policy.