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Basics of Flood Insurance

Building versus Contents Coverage


Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first covers your building, the latter covers your possessions; neither covers the land they occupy.

Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance.

Flood insurance policies cover physical damage to your property and possessions. You can use the following list as a general guide to what is and isn't covered.

Building Property

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • Electrical and plumbing systems, Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
  • Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets
  • Window blinds
  • Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy
  • Debris removal

Personal Contents

  • Property Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
  • Curtains
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
  • Carpets that are not included in building coverage
  • Clothing washers and dryers
  • Food freezers and the food in them
  • Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

What is not covered?

  • Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
  • Currency, precious metals and valuable papers such as stock certificates
  • Property and belongings outside of an insured building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools
  • Living expenses such as temporary housing
  • Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property
  • Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts (see Section IV.5 in your policy)
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