If you are like many homeowners who believe that water damage caused by flooding is covered under their homeowners policy, you probably think the answer to that question is no. However, if you own a home and it ever rains where you live, the answer to this question is probably yes. If it rains, it can flood, and if it floods, any damage caused to your home and property will not be covered unless you have a flood insurance policy.
Flood insurance in the U.S. is not included in homeowner’s policies or business property insurance policies; it is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to homeowners and businesses in participating NFIP communities. In order to become a participating community, a town or city must agree to adopt, uphold, and enforce ordinances that help reduce the risk of flooding as mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If your town or city is not an NFIP participating community, flood insurance is not available to you. To find out if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, visit the National Flood Insurance Program Community Status Book on FEMA’s website and click on your state.
What Causes Flooding?
A flood is defined as “the temporary inundation of two or more normally dry acres of land or two or more adjoining properties by water or mudflow.” There are a number of circumstances that can cause flooding and the danger exists is areas prone to rain and areas that are generally very dry. Common causes of flooding are hurricanes, tropical storms, excessive or heavy rainfall, and snowmelt. While we often think of weather conditions as the main threat for flooding, there are also circumstances that can result in flooding where it is not usually expected and without any forewarning. Things like a dam break, ice jam, or a clogged drainage system can also result in flooding that would not be covered by a homeowner’s policy.
Flooding in Arizona
Here in Arizona, floods are a common hazard that results from heavy rains, monsoons, or other storms that result in excessive rainfall. According to FEMA’s Arizona FloodSmart Fact Sheet, the state is particularly prone to flash floods which come out of nowhere and can happen after only a few minutes of heavy rainfall. Arizona residents are also at a higher risk for flooding after seasons with a significant number of wildfires, like last year. Wildfires change the landscape and alter the ground conditions making it possible for flooding to occur in different areas than prior years. According to FEMA, there were five federally declared flood disasters in Arizona between 2000 and 2010. These historical disasters provide a detailed picture of how flooding can happen here and how devastating its effects can be for communities and residents.
- 2010 – Combination of the damage caused by the Schultz Wildfire and heavy rains in July and August left 38 homes flooded and damaged by mud and debris.
- 2006 – July and August monsoons caused widespread flooding that affected 93 communities across the state and cost more than $4M in damages.
- 2000 – During a three week period at the end of October and beginning of November, 440 homes were damaged by flooding resulting in more than $4M in damages.
Protect your home, your possessions, and your peace of mind by purchasing a flood insurance policy today. Don’t wait until you are knee deep in water and watching your furniture float out the window to decide you need flood insurance.
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