Water Damage Vs Flood: What’s Covered and What’s Not

The difference between flood damage and water damage isn’t well understood by most homeowners, yet it’s an essential distinction that has the potential to severely limit your ability to recover from a storm or other water incident. Make sure you understand what’s covered and not covered by your insurance when it comes to water and flood damage.

What Qualifies As Flood Damage?

The National Flood Insurance Program defines a flood as a temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties. A flood must be caused by an overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters, mudflow, or the collapse of land along the shore of a body of water.

As a homeowner, this means that water damage on your properly only qualifies as flooding if it also affects at least one of your neighbors. Keep in mind that most flood insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period before the policy takes effect, so implementing a flood insurance policy the day before a hurricane arrives won’t help you minimize your losses.

What Is Water Damage?

Water damage is usually defined as any problems caused by water before it comes in contact with the ground:

  • A severe rainstorm that soaks through your roof and damages walls and floors
  • A pipe that bursts, saturates ceiling below
  • A toilet that overflows and soaks bathroom floorboards
  • A hailstorm that breaks windows and allows water to enter

Are You Covered?
Every policy is different, so the only way to know your coverage is to carefully read your insurance policy. Many insurance companies include a number of exclusions when it comes to covering water damage. If your water damage is caused by an issue that should have been fixed or prevented – like freezing pipes or a faulty toilet – you may have trouble convincing your insurance company to cover the repairs.

It’s also wise to carry additional flood insurance beyond anything your standard homeowners policy covers, especially in Florida.

For extra help interpreting your insurance policy and purchasing the best policies for your needs, the insurance experts at Tampa Bay Insurance are here to help. Call (727) 372-5559 to get started.

Note: Coverage examples and descriptions are not absolute and are for informational are sample purposes only. Please refer to your policy for specific coverages and exclusions.

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