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Flood Insurance

5 Reasons Washington Homeowners Need Flood Insurance

Flooding can happen anytime, anywhere

Why do we say all Washington homeowners need flood insurance?

This morning, The Daily Herald published an article about the June 10 rainstorm that flooded Everett, Washington, homes with water, mud, and sewage. Homeowners on Wetmore, Grand Avenue, and Broadway estimate the repairs will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

We feel for our Everett neighbors. Flood insurance could have helped these homeowners begin repairs much more quickly and with fewer out of pocket costs.

Flooding is a year-round risk for Washington homeowners. Take this example from last year, when a Mill Creek neighborhood made nationwide news after a burst beaver dam sent water gushing through residential streets and into homes.

Here are five reasons why all Pacific Northwest residents need flood insurance:

  1. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. What constitutes a flood? For insurance purposes, “flood” is defined as a:

    “general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland or tidal waters; the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters; mudflows caused by flooding.” Many “floods” in Western Washington fit the second description. We often see rainwater accumulate on streets when storm drains overflow, quickly proceeding on a path of destruction.

  2. You live in a flood zone. Yes, really! It’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high-risk area. Homeowners who live in low- to moderate-risk flood zones qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) through the federal government backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A PRP policy can provide up to $250,000 in coverage for your home and $100,000 in coverage for your contents for $499 a year.
  3. Washington flood insurance agentThe risk for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is about 10%, while the risk for the same home to be destroyed in a flood is 26%. In other words, the risk for your home to be destroyed in a flood is more than double the risk of your home being destroyed in a fire. In fact, about 25% of all flood losses occur in low- to moderate-risk areas.
  4. Repair and clean up after a flood is time-consuming, difficult, and expensive. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just one inch of flood water can cause more than $20,000 in damage to your home and its contents.
  5. Unless you have flood insurance, you will be responsible for covering a flood loss out of pocket. Federal disaster assistance, which comes in the form of a low-interest FEMA loan, is only available if the flooded area is declared a natural disaster. Most floods aren’t.

Flooding can happen anytime, anywhere.  Washington homeowners need flood insurance. For a free consultation about flood insurance in Washington state, call the McClain Insurance team at (425) 379-9200 or request a proposal online here.

Did you know that water damage is the #1 homeowner insurance claim in the US?  Indeed, the chance for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is 10%, while the chance for the same home to be destroyed by a water-related loss is over 25% — no matter where the home is located!

But a flood isn’t the only way your home can experience water damage.  In fact, water damage can come in many different forms, and they each require different insurance protection.

In this article, learn more about the three major water-related perils and what you can do to protect against:

1. Flooding

2. Water / Sewer Backup

3. Broken Pipes

1. Flood

Did you know that flood damage is NOT a covered peril on a standard homeowner’s policy?

A “flood” is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:

  1. The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
  2. The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters (like excess rainwater)
  3. Mudflows caused by flooding.

Floods can happen in the desert, during snowmelt, in developed areas or anywhere the ground is hard and does not absorb excess water. Erosion or inadequate drainage can also lead to floods or mudslides. This is why having flood insurance is so important.

Flooding can damage the foundation, structure, walls, floors and furniture of a home.

While flooding is an excluded peril on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, you can protect yourself with flood insurance.  You may think that flood insurance is first and foremost meant for people who live near rivers or creeks, or on the coast. (And, oddly enough, those who live in these areas often believe that they don’t qualify for flood insurance because of the high risk factor.)

Neither is true.  Flood protection for your home is easy and often very affordable.  Contact your insurance broker for more information.

2.  Water / Sewer Backup

Water and sewer backup can occur when torrential downpours overwhelm the sewer and drainage systems.  If your sump pump and backup valve fail, water and sewage can back up into your home’s drains, bringing water or, worse, raw sewage into your home.

Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude water / sewer backup coverage.  However, this important protection can often be added to your policy for a minimal charge.  Check with your independent insurance agent for more information.

3. Broken Pipes

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage for damage resulting from sudden breaks of pipes and leaks inside the home.  Please note that the water damage must be the result of a sudden break or leak.  Water damage as a result of poor maintenance is considered neglect and is not covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Keep in mind, however, that breaks to outside water and sewer pipes are not covered.

Utility companies are responsible for broken water and sewer lines in the street.   But the short section of pipe in your front yard that runs from the street to your home is not covered. This can be an expensive coverage gap for many homeowners.

Pipes can break, whether it happens inside your walls, in your crawl space, by your outdoor faucet or anywhere in your front yard.  If an outdoor pipe breaks in your front yard, neither your home insurance nor flood insurance would apply.  You would be responsible for construction and repair costs to fix the leak.

Some utilities and specialty insurance carriers may offer maintenance or insurance policies at a modest cost to protect you for this type of loss.

Our hearts go out to all the Everett residents who had flooded basements during the recent rainstorms; not to mention the folks in Boulder, Colorado and the surrounding communities!   Unexpected flooding is a scary and life threatening catastrophe.

Did you know that the risk for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is about 10%, while the risk for the same home to be destroyed in a flood averages 26%?

In other words, the risk for your home to be destroyed in a flood is more than double the risk of your home being destroyed in a fire.  No matter where it’s located. In fact, about three quarters of all flood losses occur in low – to – moderate risk areas.!

A “flood” is not simply high water near a river, creek or bay.  In insurance lingo, a “flood” is defined as a “general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:

  1. The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
  2. The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters.
  3. Mudflows caused by flooding.

Many “floods” in Western Washington and those recently in Colorado fit the second description.

If the ground has poor absorption qualities because it’s either very hard after a long dry spell, or already saturated with water, water accumulates on the surface, gathers quickly in volume, and can create a highly destructive flash flood.

This phenomenon also tends to happen in suburban neighborhoods that may be miles away from the nearest river:  Due to non-absorbent pavement on the streets, rain water accumulates on the street once storm water drains are overflowing (which happens quickly in a heavy rainstorm) and quickly proceeds on a path of destruction.

The problem is:  Damage to your home due to flood is NOT a covered peril on a standard homeowners insurance policy.  Flooding can cause damage to your home’s foundation, structure, walls, floors or furniture.  Unless you have flood insurance, you will be responsible to cover your loss out of pocket.

On their “FloodSmart” website, FEMA provides a helpful tool to help you estimate the cost of flooding in your home, inch by inch:

Flood Insurance can protect you!

For a free consultation about Flood Insurance in Washington State, please contact McClain Insurance Services at 425.379.9200 or simply click here for more information.

Please note that new flood insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period to issue.  So, don’t delay!  Be prepared with Flood Insurance!

 

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McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency has represented a number of regional and national insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive) since 1977.  McClain Insurance Services offers great insurance options to customers in Snohomish County and Washington.  Our convenient full-service website and our team of licensed, professional brokers make insurance shopping personal, easy, quick and hassle-free.

Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: AutoHomeRentersLifeUmbrellaEarthquakeFloodBoatMotorcycle and RV Insurance.

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education

As I was doing research on catastrophes the other day, I ran into a surprising fact:

Did you know that the risk for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is about 10%, while the risk of the same home to be destroyed in a flood is about 26%?

Who would have thought! But, how is that possible?

Flooding doesn’t always occur near rivers and streams, but also happens due to old or blocked drainage systems, fast accumulation of water due to rain or snowmelt, or changes in topography that keep surface water from being absorbed by the ground. Yes, backup of surface waters on two or more adjacent properties qualifies as a ‘flood’. In fact, only about 25% of all flood losses occur in actual high-risk flood zones; the rest, about 75%, happen in low-risk flood zones.

(And no, none of these is covered by a standard homeowner’s policy.)

To learn the flood risk of your property, take part in the One-Step-Flood-Risk-Profile at http://www.floodsmart.gov/.

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