Water Damage and Flood Damage Difference
You are dealing with enough problems when you have to clean up water damage in your home; the last thing you want is to be involved with your insurance company in a claim’s dispute.Knowing whether your insurance policy covers your losses depends upon the type of insurance you own, and how the water entered your house.
The two types of insurance policies that cover water damage and restoration from that damage: a standard home or business policy, and what is known as flood insurance. The difference between flood damage and water damage is significant in determining which policy applies to your water damage. Strictly speaking, if an insurance company determines that your water damage is the result of a flood and not some man-made source in or around your home, only a flood insurance policy will cover that loss.
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What is Flood Insurance?
A flood insurance policy is written and covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, and it provides coverage for damage caused by flood only. For insurance purposes, damage caused by water that has been on the ground at some point before it damaged your home is considered to be flood damage. Some examples:
- Heavy rain enters your basement or bottom floor because the soil around your homecould not absorb the water quickly enough.
- Heavy rain or a flash flood from some external source (lake, stream, river, or shorefront)and causes the land behind your house to collapse, causing a mud slide that seeps into your home.
- An external source like a river or lake overflows washes into your home.
The only insurance policy that will ever cover flood damage is a flood insurance policy. No other form of insurance will cover water damage caused by floods. You can purchase a flood insurance policy from your insurance agent or from the Federal Emergency Management Office (FEMA). Before buying a flood policy, you should have a licensed agent or county official determine if your home is in a flood zone. If you are living in a flood zone, for the low cost involved you most definitely should own flood insurance.
What does regular Homeowners Insurance Cover?
While your homeowners’ insurance policy will not cover flood water damage, it will in almost all cases cover water damage not caused by flood. Water damage covered by regular homeowner insurance works the flipside of the flood policy – if water damages your home before that water comes in contact with the ground, it is considered water damage and should be covered. A few examples of water damage include:
- An object (manmade or natural) smashes your window, allowing rain to enter your home through that window.
- Heavy rain seeps through the roof or walls, allowing water to drip through. Remember, for flood insurance, that heavy rain would come into your home through the ground up; for regular insurance it comes from the top down.
- A broken pipe leaks water into your home.
While you may not have the correct insurance to cover your losses entirely from flood damage, the resulting damage caused by mold and standing water must be addressed quickly to avoid further contamination of your home.