Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage or losses caused by flooding. If renters, homeowners, or business owners want financial protection from floods, they must buy insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Here are some points to keep in mind about coverage for floods.
For purposes of insurance, “flood” means any water outside your home that flows inside at ground level. In Arizona, the hard desert ground does not soak up water, and water pools on the ground surface. If water flows into your home and causes damage, this is “flooding” and is not covered by homeowners insurance.
"Flood insurance" is a separate insurance policy purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
There is generally a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect.
The NFIP offers a policy to cover damage to your dwelling, and one to cover your personal belongings. The NFIP also offers policies to cover renters, residential condo associations, and businesses.
Homeowners can obtain up to $250,000 of flood insurance coverage on their residence. Homeowners and renters can obtain up to $100,000 in coverage for their contents. Businesses can obtain up to $500,000 of flood insurance coverage on business structures and up to $500,000 on the business structure contents.
The NFIP requires separate flood insurance policies for each building, and separate flood insurance policies covering belongings inside each building.
To find out what type of flood zone you live in, visit the NFIP website (https://www.floodsmart.gov/) or call (888) 379-9531.
If you live in an area designated by the federal government as a "high risk” flood zone your mortgage company will require you to buy flood insurance. If you do not buy flood insurance, your mortgage company will obtain "forced place" flood insurance on your dwelling. “Forced place” means that the mortgage company will obtain flood insurance to protect the mortgage company’s interest in the property, and the insurance premium is made a part of your mortgage payment.
Changes to the terrain surrounding your property can change the risk of flooding. For example, a wildfire may destroy the ground cover that helps deflect flooding. It is a good idea to periodically reevaluate your flood risk.
Many homeowners insurance agents sell flood insurance as well. If your agent cannot help, contact the NFIP to find an agent in your area that specializes in flood insurance. You can use the NFIP’s Agent Locator service at https://www.floodsmart.gov/flood-insurance-provider or call the NFIP at 877-336- 2627.
If you have questions or a complaint about flood insurance including coverage, rates, or cancellation issues, contact the NFIP at
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (888) 379-9531 FAX: (202) 646-2818
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