When insurance doesn’t cover flood damage to your home
Will your insurance cover flood damage to your Houston home?
Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, your Houston home could still be flooded. One in five flood insurance claims occur in a low-risk area. The damage alone is hard to handle, but it’s nothing compared to the anguish of discovering that the flood isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. What will you do if your insurance doesn’t cover flood damage?
Risk of flooding in Houston
Houston suffers more damage and property loss from floods than anywhere else in the U.S., according to flood loss data that reaches back to 1960. More than 1,800 high-water rescues were made during Houston’s 2016 flood, which caused an estimated $2.7 billion in losses.
The frequent flooding should come as little surprise, considering that the city is set in a low-lying coastal area with poorly draining soils, heavy rainfall, and frequent storm surges. As the city continues to expand, the risk of flooding will only get worse.
What they don’t want you to know about flood insurance.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover your dwelling, your property, or your belongings from flood. For that, you need a separate flood insurance policy.
If you live in a high-risk flood area, and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to have flood insurance. For everyone else, it’s optional.
But even if you do have flood insurance, it won’t protect the property outside your house, including fences, trees or landscaping. And your coverage for basement damage will be limited at best.
Worst of all, you may have to pay your deductible twice. Since your deductible applies separately to the building and its contents, you could be on the hook for double your deductible amount.
Can you wait to buy flood insurance?
Some Houston homeowners wait to buy flood insurance until after the flood watch is announced in your area. But that’s a bad plan.
Most flood insurance policies have a waiting period of 30 days before they take effect. By the time a flood threatens your home, it’s too late to get insurance.
What about federal flood disaster assistance?
Disaster assistance from the federal government is only available to victims of a declared disaster. Even when that happens, most victims qualify for a federal aid loan, not a grant. Eventually, the loan must be repaid to the government, with interest.
The National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program administered by FEMA, does cover flood damage.
Floods cause hidden damage to your Houston home.
After a flood, the long-term effects of water damage can cause hidden problems in your home for years to come.
Mold can grow quickly after flooding. Touching or inhaling mold spores can cause respiratory illness, rashes, and other problems. Airborne mold spores can get into your ventilation system and travel throughout your home. Because mold and mildew are toxic, they can trigger health problems, especially in children.
Rotted wood is another issue that can haunt you for years to come. Water-damaged wood loses much of its strength, which can lead to structural problems in the framing of your home.
Flooding can also damage your electrical system, which can lead to premature failure and even present a risk of fire.
The foundation can also suffer as a result of a flood. As the soil is eroded away, it can cause the foundation to settle. That eventually leads to cracked walls, uneven floors, and damaged chimneys.
How much does it cost to repair flood damage?
Nationwide, most homeowners spend between $1,000 and $4,000 to repair the average incident of water damage. Those incidents include minor problems like burst pipes and leaking roofs. When it comes to major flooding damage, unfortunately, many homes are a total loss.
If your Houston home has been damaged by flooding, you might find the repair costs quickly spiraling out of control. Instead of trying to fix all of the hidden damage, you can sell your house for cash to We Buy Ugly Houses®. Contact We Buy Ugly Houses® for a free quote.