Basement Flooding And Insurance: Is Your Basement Waterproofing Covered?
Many people don’t think about something as simple as flooding insurance until after it’s too late and they’ve been afflicted with water-in-basement syndrome. But many do, and a basement waterproofing contractor will get lots of calls from people who want to know if they can work with their insurance company to have their services covered. The answer is, of course, “not always” — but it does happen regularly.
There are a few reasons why your particular basement flooding issue might not be covered by your insurance. The most common is that you don’t actually have flooding insurance. As much as it might seem reasonable, most “multi-peril” homeowner’s insurance policies don’t actually cover flooding — you need special, separate flooding insurance to cover things like basement waterproofing.
Even if you have flooding insurance, you might not be safe yet. If the flooding was caused by rising groundwater rather than an accident like a burst pipe, normal flooding insurance won’t cover it. “Rising groundwater” basically means “it rained so much that the water table came up over the side walls of your house and got in through cracks, etc” — but if the ‘groundwater’ rises above the ground itself and you have literal flooding, the insurance will generally kick back in and cover you.
Beware, however, because while flooding insurance will usually cover the personal belongings you have in your home, things in your basement are usually specifically excluded. Your flooding insurance will cover structural elements and ‘essential’ appliances like your heat pump, but won’t do a thing to ameliorate the costs of your post-flood basement remodeling. Even non-structural architectural elements like internal walls aren’t covered; any basement wall repair you need to have done from a basement waterproofing company will have to come out of your own pocket.
-well-water tanks and pumps
-cisterns and the water inside
-oil tanks and the oil inside
-natural gas tanks and the gas inside
-pumps or tanks used with solar energy furnaces
-electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes (and their utility connections)
-unpainted drywall walls and ceilings (including fiberglass insulation)
washing machines and dryers
-freezers and the food inside them.
“Cleanup expenses” are also covered, so you can count on your insurance to help you get rid of your old stuff, but not to help you replace it.
Everyone should check to find out if their community is covered by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program; if it is, they have the option to purchase some pretty decent flood insurance at pretty good prices. The best part is that membership in a NFIP-covered community is the only prerequisite. It doesn’t matter if you’re actually in a flood zone, if you’ve already flooded at least once, or even if you live on top of a hill — any member in that community can (and should) get insurance that will cover basic basement waterproofing and flood recovery.