Flood insurance is usually the most confusing area of Florida property insurance. While mortgage lenders will require it in high-risk areas, for others it’s optional.
Policyholders are often shocked by what is really covered by their flood policy. They’re even more shocked by what their flood insurance does not cover.
In Florida, flood insurance is a separate policy from the homeowner’s policy. Homeowners’ insurance does not cover any damage that is related to flooding.
Where property claims are concerned, water and flood damage are totally different. It is extremely important for policyholders to know the difference.
We believe that the costs associated with hiring a lawyer shouldn’t prevent anyone in a flood claim dispute from obtaining sound legal counsel. Because of this, our law firm handles all Florida flood claim disputes on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no out of pocket expenses and you only owe attorney’s fees if we settle your claim or win a favorable verdict in court.
While there are some commercial carriers that sell flood insurance, the majority of flood policies are purchased from the government, through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In order for flood insurance to be available for a claim, the water event must meet very specific criteria.
The first criteria is that the water must cover a minimum of two acres that are normally dry or affect two or more homes, to be considered a flood.
The second criteria is the source of the water. Per FEMA, flooding is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
Flood insurance will not cover damage related to water overflows from sinks, toilets, sewers, septic tanks or other similar sources. Water damage claims, related to these sources, should be covered by and filed under the normal homeowners policy.
Another shock to some flood insurance policyholders are the policy limits and what is actually covered. While there are some exceptions, the NFIP normally has the following policy limits:
There is a misconception that one flood policy covers both the building and the personal property. That is false. The building and personal property policies are separate. Both policies are very specific about what they cover and what they don’t.
What is Covered By the Building Flood Policy?
What is Covered by the Personal Property Policy?
What is NOT Covered By the Building Flood Policy?
For homes with basements, which are rare in Florida, there are specific items that are covered and which are not. For example, the personal property policy will cover washers, dryers and freezers. It will not cover refrigerators.