Natural disasters are a risk from which every homeowner must protect themselves. If you live on the coast, you’re probably well-aware of the risk of tropical storm damages, whereas if you live in a drier climate you may be wary of tornadoes. But, almost every homeowner is at risk of flooding, whether they realize it or not. In fact, homeowners face a higher statistical risk of flooding than they do fires in the U.S. So how do you protect yourself?

You can take some precautions to protect your home against flooding, but the best option is to insure your home for flood damage. Flood insurance isn’t something every first-time homeowner thinks about, but it’s smart to purchase a policy if you live in an area that experiences high volumes of rain. Flood insurance also protects you if there is a main break in your home’s water system.

Many homeowners don’t bother with flood insurance because they believe they will be protected  by their homeowners insurance policy. But homeowners insurance rarely includes flood damage protection, even if the flooding is from a water main line or other structural damage. Homeowners insurance will cover water damage if it comes from a leaky roof or broken window in a storm. However, if water rises from underneath, most insurance companies require a separate flood insurance policy.

There are different options for flood insurance policies, just like any other insurance. Many providers offer separate insurance for your home and for the belongings in your home that could be damaged in a flood. A standard flood policy that covers the minimum value will oftentimes be enough for homeowners.

However, flood insurance doesn’t cover everything. It often omits living expenses if you have to leave the house while it’s repaired. Most have a cap of around $250,000 for the home and $100,000 for possessions even if your house and belongings are worth more than the limit. If you live in a house with a higher value, you will want to purchase additional coverage that covers the full value of your home and its contents. A conversation with your agent will help you determine the amount of coverage you need.

If you’re worried about flood damage for any reason, look into specific flood and storm damage policies for your home or talk  to your insurance provider about their current rates. The more you know, the better prepared you will be as a first-time homeowner.

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