Flood Insurance

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We had some pretty massive flash flooding in the Pittsburgh area last week.  Luckily, there weren’t any major injuries reported.  There was, however, a lot of property damage.  Property damage that largely isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance.

You see, homeowner’s insurance usually doesn’t cover damage caused by flooding.  I learned this when one of my employers was an insurance agency; it was something they made their clients abundantly aware of, partially because they sold these flood policies.  But your average consumer isn’t necessarily as informed.

When your pipes burst, that damage is usually covered.  If looters come and raid your house after a flood, the property they steal is usually covered.  But the actual water damage that your house and belongings incur as a result of mother nature usually isn’t.

There’s three basic types of policies.  The first is a Contents Only policy.  This covers your belongings that may be damaged in case of a flood.  This policy seems to make the most sense for renters, because guess what?  Renter’s insurance doesn’t usually cover flood damage either.  In the Pittsburgh area, this tends to cost $55-$743 per twelve month period (or $4.83-$61.92/month.)  This number will oscillate depending on how much coverage you want and what kind of deductible you are willing to pay, as well as the insurance company you choose to cover you.

The second type is a Building Only policy.  This one seems to make the most sense for landlords as long as the only property you have at the address is the building.  In this area, it’s around $381-$1095 per twelve month period (or $31.75-91.25/month.)

The third type is a Building and Contents policy.  Your average homeowner may want to look at this one as they are responsible for both the house itself and all of the property inside of it.  In the Pittsburgh area, rates run from about $129-$1798 per twelve month period (or $10.75-$149.83/month.)  Again, the fluctuation in these numbers depends on who you have your policy with and how much you want covered.

So is flood insurance worth the premium?  That’s a calculated risk you’re going to have to decide on for yourself.  Do you live in an area that floods often?  Do you live in an area that floods every once in a while, but the damage would be an insurmountable cost if you were unlucky enough for it to happen to you?  Things to consider.  There’s tons of people in Western PA who are now being forced to look on those questions retroactively.

All numbers were pulled from Floodsmart.gov
They have pretty in depth, unbiased information if you want to explore more.

18 thoughts on “Flood Insurance

  1. Alexa

    I have had to get flood insurance for clients before. (I don’t live in a flood zone.) The cost was nearly the same as their homeowners insurance. And you’re right homeowners and renters policies do not cover flood damage.

  2. canadianbudgetbinder

    It’s sad for anyone who has to deal with the flooding since it’s not covered. I read somewhere that they tried it in Canada but it was so expensive that nobody bought it so they got rid of it. I didn’t really look into much. It can get costly though, just looking at your numbers.

  3. Mitchell Pauly

    Thank the heavens and hells that I do not live anywhere near a flood zone and also rent. I have renters insurance which does cover such a happening which, if it happens, will surely coincide with the apocalypse given where I live. So I got that going for me.

  4. Sheila Simmons

    I’m going to call my agent on Monday. I have to find my policy and think my husband has it somewhere, hmm. My home never floods but I rather have it than not have it.

  5. Jim

    I think in order to obtain flood insurance you have to be deemed to be in a flood zone, and the coverage actually is written through agents using the National Flood Service. Also check about back up of sewers and drains, a lot of times this is not covered.

  6. Christine

    I think it depends on where you live. I’m from New Orleans (HELLO flood zone!) and EVERYONE has flood insurance. And if you don’t, you’re considered not so bright. It’s a well known fact down there that water that comes from the top (rain water from damaged roof, etc.) is covered by homeowners but water that comes up from the bottom (flooding) is not. I now live in Nebraska and flood insurance is much less of an issue here. There’s some flooding from time to time but unless you’re very near a river/creek that could overflow it’s a non-issue. I’d say if you live anywhere flooding is likely it’s definitely worth it!

  7. Maureen

    We rent now after Hurricane Sandy and I did not even consider separate flood insurance. I am going to check out our policies and see if we have enough coverage. Excellent post!


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