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Do you have insurance for spring snowmelt flooding?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Insurance Law

Flooding is one of the more common and destructive natural disasters in America. It’s often associated with heavy rainfall and storms, but one more factor can cause severe flooding.

With spring in full swing, the warmer temperatures have led to mountain snow in California melting rapidly, resulting in flooding. The sudden deluge already affected several regions, including the communities near the Tulare Lake area.

You might think that because your home has insurance, you should be fine if flooding hits your community. But are you covered by your policy for flooding risks?

Flood insurance is a separate policy

Standard homeowners’ or renters’ insurance does not offer coverage for flooding. Instead, homeowners must purchase flood insurance separately as an add-on to their coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) – administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – provides California with flood insurance, which is sold through insurance agents and participating insurance carriers.

What can flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance can cover various types of flood risks, including storm surges, flash floods, and inland flooding – which is the case with California’s snowmelt overflowing rivers. Coverage from the NFIP is for both dwelling (the building itself) and its contents (your belongings). However, the coverage has a cap.

NFIP’s insurance limits dwelling coverage to $250,000, while contents coverage has a cap of $100,000. But you may be able to purchase additional coverage through the private insurance market.

What should you do with denied or reduced flood claims?

Ideally, NFIP should cover any flood damage your home suffers (up to the limit). Still, even the federal insurance program can deny or reduce the payout amount like any private insurer. It would be best if you considered seeking the services and advice of a lawyer with experience in insurance claim disputes in such cases.