Navigating Flood Damage: Separate Policies for Separate Risks

Homeowners insurance protects your property from risks like fire, theft, and vandalism. It also can provide coverage for hurricane wind-related damage. While it offers comprehensive coverage for many scenarios, it excludes flood-related damage.

Flood insurance is a separate policy that specifically covers damage caused by rising waters from heavy rains, storm surges, and overflowing rivers or coastal waters. Vulnerability to hurricanes and the resulting flooding makes flood insurance a vital consideration for homeowners.

How do I get flood insurance?

Flood insurance is typically offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private flood insurance companies. This coverage is essential for residents in high-risk flood areas but is advisable for all homeowners, regardless of distance to any body of water.

Flood insurance policies may cover both the structure of your home and its contents, allowing you to recoup losses from flood-related damages.

Your insurance agent has access to sell these products and can advise on the right coverages for your needs.

Why is flood insurance a separate policy?

There are several key reasons why flood damage is covered under a separate policy:

  1. High Risk in Flood-Prone Areas: Coastal states are known for their vulnerability to hurricanes, heavy rainfall, and storm surges, all of which can lead to significant flooding. Living in an area with extensive coastline and low-lying land increases the likelihood of flood-related events.

    Because the risk of flooding is relatively high, it is considered a specialized risk that requires a separate insurance policy.
  2. Specialized Nature of Coverage: Flood insurance addresses the unique risks associated with flooding events. The damages caused by floods, such as rising waters from heavy rain or storm surges, differ from the types of damages typically covered by homeowners insurance. The specialized nature of flood insurance ensures that homeowners have tailored coverage to address the specific challenges of flood-related losses.
  3. Catastrophic Potential: Floods have the potential to cause widespread and catastrophic damage to homes and communities. The costs of repairing or replacing damaged properties can be astronomical in the aftermath of major flooding events. Separation of flood coverage prevents unsustainable financial burdens for both the policyholders and insurance companies.
  4. Government Involvement: The US government, recognizing the importance of flood insurance in mitigating the financial impact of flooding, established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. The NFIP provides flood insurance coverage for communities that participate in the program. This government-backed program helps ensure flood insurance is accessible to homeowners living in flood-prone areas.

What role does FEMA play?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides assistance to individuals and communities affected by disasters, including flood events. FEMA is a resource for aid, not insurance. Approved aid may cover temporary housing, home repair, essential personal property replacement, or medical expenses. It is crucial to act promptly if you are applying for aid, as deadlines apply.


Homeowners insurance excludes coverage for flood-related damages,whether driven bywind or not, due to the unique risks associated with flooding, the potential for catastrophic losses, and the specialized nature of flood insurance coverage.

To protect against flood-related risks adequately, homeowners are encouraged to obtain a separate flood insurance policy through the NFIP or private insurers. Your insurance agent can advise on the options available for your unique needs.

Published on August 31, 2023

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