FLOOD INSURANCE – it’s not just for floods

Payton Stiewe  |  October 13, 2022

If you live in a flood zone, you're probably already aware of the importance of flood insurance. It's an essential part of protecting your home - the property and your personal belongings.

What if your home isn't in a flood zone or flooding is unlikely to happen where you live?  Is it still necessary to buy flood insurance? Here’s some information that might help your decision:

Let’s begin by defining what a flood is. In simple terms, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines a flood as an excess of water on land that normally is dry. 

A more precise definition of flooding:

A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: 

    • Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
    • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source;
    • Mudflow/Mudslide - an event where there is a river of liquid mud flowing down a hillside, usually because of a loss of brush cover (typically from a fire and subsequent heavy rains.). Other earth movements such as landslide, slope failure, or a saturated soil mass moving by liquidity down a slope, are not mudflows.
    • Collapse or caving in of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.

Given the above information flood insurance would cover damages caused by a mudslide and atmospheric rivers, two natural occurrences that are happening more often and creating enormous amounts of damage in a short period of time, especially in California. Who remembers the 2018 mudslide in Montecito and the atmospheric river that dropped 7.6 trillion gallons of rain across all of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest in just 4 days in October 2021.

Standard home insurance does not cover water damage caused by natural events like flash floods, mudslides, or flooding from atmospheric rivers. If you’re looking to protect yourself from a water-related incident your best bet is to get a basic flood insurance plan.

Does this mean that every homeowner in the Bay Area should have flood insurance? Probably not. But it does mean that everyone should at least understand why it's important to consider purchasing this type of protection for their property.



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