The Chippewa Valley has been affected by many floods over the years, some of which have caused significant damage to homes and businesses in the Eau Claire area. When a home is affected by water damage, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean it, repair it, and replace all of the contents that were damaged inside of it.
In addition to flooding, there are other types of water related losses as well. Some are covered by homeowners insurance; others are not. Do you know if you are fully protected against all water-related damages? Continue reading to learn the difference between flooding, water backup, and overflows, as well as what it means for you.
Overflow and Discharge
Your homeowners insurance policy most likely includes benefits payable for damages caused by overflow and discharge. That could be an overflow or discharge of water from a pipe, your roof, an appliance, or even your bathtub, so long as the damage is not caused by neglect or poor home maintenance. Typically, this includes sudden or accidental problems, such as storm damage that allows rain into your home or accidentally leaving the faucet running after getting distracted. It may even cover damages caused by an overflow of your plumbing, so long as it is not the result of a sewer backup or sump pump discharge or failure.
Backups are among the top five causes of water-related losses and damages. They can wreak havoc on your home and family, costing thousands of dollars in repairs and creating an uninhabitable environment. A backup occurs when a combined sewer and storm drainage system becomes overburdened after heavy rains. As the sewers fill up, it forces wastes and water back through your lateral pipes, up your drains, and into your home. This can also occur if you develop a blockage in your drain lines due to invasive tree roots, deteriorated pipes, or a clog caused by flushed materials.
Though backups are not typically covered under your homeowners insurance policy, all is not lost. You can still purchase coverage specifically for backups in the form of an endorsement added to your policy. Simply contact an agent here at Killey Insurance to find out more and request a quote.
For insurance purposes, a flood is defined as an accumulation of surface water over at least two acres of land that are normally dry. Waters rise from the ground up and over the foundation of your home. Flood damages are not covered by homeowners insurance, but you can purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. This type of coverage may be mandatory as a part of the lender agreement you signed with your mortgage holder, or it may be discretionary if you live in a low or moderate-risk area. However, the Insurance Information Institute recommends that everyone, regardless of risk exposure, consider flood insurance.
The average flood insurance claim was $43,000 in 2015 – enough to buy a new car or fully fund an IRA retirement account for 8 years. That is not the kind of money most people want to throw away on home repairs and clean-up costs, yet many uninsured homeowners do just every year when they get blindsided by unexpected flood damage.
According to the NFIP, more than one in five flood insurance claims are made by people who live outside of high-risk flood zones. In other words, do not rely solely on your flood history and flood map risk to determine if you might need flood insurance.
If you think your family may benefit from flood insurance (renters can purchase contents-only coverage), contact an agent here at Killey Insurance for more information and to request your free NFIP quote.
What do you stand to lose in a flood? Could you afford to replace it?