Your homeowner or renter's insurance policy may not cover losses caused by flooding.
If your home has plumbing fixtures or floor drains below street level, your basement could flood. Water damage from heavy rain storms, snow melt or sewer backups are most often not covered by the homeowner's policy, but it may be covered by flood insurance. Even if you do not live in a FEMA designated flood zone, it might be wise to get flood insurance. Approximately 25% of flood-related claims are for homes outside of a FEMA designated flood zone.
If you feel your home may be susceptible to flooding, you should consider obtaining flood insurance prior to when you think you may need it. Policies typically require a 30-day waiting period before becoming effective. Even where flooding occurs more regularly and slowly, thirty days may be too long. Snowmelt flooding, heavy rainfall and flash flooding can occur with little warning (see exceptions below under Resources). Contact your insurance agent for additional information. Additionally, the risk level of a particular area can change over time. New construction development and environmental changes can alter the impact of flood waters in your area.
If your home is in a flood zone (also called a flood plain), your mortgage lender will require flood insurance. Flood zones are mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To find a map of flood zones, go to the FEMA website.
National Flood Insurance Program
The City of Minneapolis participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which means that all residents are eligible to purchase flood insurance from the Federal Government.
Cost of flood insurance
You can buy flood insurance through most insurance companies. The annual cost for flood coverage can vary from as little as $200, up to $2,000, depending on what FEMA designated flood zone you live in. Coverage for household contents is separate, so renters can also purchase flood insurance.
Federal Disaster Areas
A Federal Disaster Area is an area declared by the President of the United States to be eligible for federal assistance under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Generally, you should be aware that:
- Fewer than half of all flooding incidents result in a Presidential declared disaster
- Persons in a Federal Disaster Area are eligible for low cost loans – not grants
- Yearly flood insurance premiums are less than the interest on a Federal disaster loan
- Top 10 Facts Every Consumer needs to know about the NFIP. This FEMA publication lists ten important facts about the benefits of insuring your home against flood damages.
- FloodSmart.gov is designed specifically to learn about flood risk and the importance of taking steps to financially protect homes and businesses from flood damage
- The Insurance Buyers Guide provides general information about flood insurance
- This Internal Revenue Service web page provides information about getting financial help if you have damaged or lost property in a location declared a Federal disaster Area
Disclaimer: The information on this page is merely a summary of flood insurance information. For more information, contact your insurance agent.
Last updated Aug. 27, 2012