FAQs: Flood

What is a Flood?

Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) a flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land by:

  • The overflow of inland or tidal waters.

  • The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.

  • Mudslides (i.e., mudflows) which are proximately caused by flooding, as defined above and are akin to a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, including your premises, as when earth is carried by a current of water and deposited along the path of the current.

  • The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding the cyclical levels which result in flood as defined above.

  • To qualify as a general and temporary condition, the flood must affect either two or more adjacent properties or two or more acres of land and have a distinct beginning point and ending point.

  • Also, to qualify, the flood waters can only be surface water that covers land that is normally dry.

What does flood insurance cover?

The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) Forms contain complete definitions of the coverages they provide. Direct physical losses caused by “floods” are covered. Also covered are losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water activity exceeding anticipated cyclical levels, or caused by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tidal surge, or the like, which result in flooding, as defined. Damage caused by mudslides (i.e., mudflows), as specifically defined in the policy forms, is covered.

How much flood coverage is available?
Coverage CategoryEmergency ProgramRegular Program
BUILDING COVERAGE
Single family dwelling35,000250,000
2-4 family dwelling35,000250,000
Other residential100,000250,000
Non-residential100,000500,000
CONTENTS COVERAGE
Residential10,000100,000
Non-residential100,000500,000
Is my basement covered?

The NFIP defines a basement as any area of a building with a floor that is below ground level on all sides. While flood insurance does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors or ceilings, or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement , such as furniture and other contents, it does cover structural elements, essential equipment and other basic items normally located in a basement. Many of these items are covered under building coverage, and some are covered under contents coverage. The NFIP encourages people to purchase both building and contents coverage for the broadest protection.

The following items are covered under building coverage, as long as they are connected to a power source and installed in their functioning location:

  • Sump pumps.

  • Well water tanks and pumps, cisterns and the water in them.

  • Oil tanks and the oil in them, natural gas tanks and the gas in them.

  • Pumps and/or tanks used in conjunction with solar energy.

  • Furnaces, hot water heaters, air conditioners, and heat pumps.

  • Electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes, and required utility connections.

  • Foundation elements.

  • Stairways, staircases, elevators and dumbwaiters.

  • Unpainted drywall and sheet rock walls and ceilings, including fiberglass insulation.

  • Cleanup.

    The Following items are covered under contents coverage:

  • Clothes washers.

  • Clothes dryers.

  • Food Freezers and the food in them.

What Is Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage?

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) under the NFIP provides for the payment of a claim to help pay for the cost to comply with State or community floodplain management laws or ordinances from a flood event in which a building has been declared substantially damaged or repetitively damaged. When an insured building is damaged by a flood and the State or community declares the building to be substantially damaged or repetitively damaged, ICC will help pay for the cost to elevate, flood proof, demolish or relocate the building up to $15,000. This coverage is in addition to the building coverage for the repair of actual physical damages from flood under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP).

When Will My Policy Go Into Effect?

There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy can become effective. In most instances, the insurance producer who writes your policy can provide you with the date that your policy should go into effect.