FAQs on Flood Coverage

posted Sep 3, 2011, 7:22 AM by jon curtis   [ updated Sep 3, 2011, 7:31 AM ]
This is general information for a typical homeowner’s insurance policy. Depending upon the insurance carrier, which type of policy and/or endorsements a person has purchased, the level of coverage may differ.  People should consult their own policy and insurance agent regarding their particular situation. 
  • How are flood and surface water claims handled?

There is no coverage for surface water or flood claims under the typical homeowners property policy. People who have flood insurance policies should contact their flood insurer. In absence of a flood insurance policy, customers should report flood damage to FEMA.

Killington does not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program; therefore it is likely that very few people in town have purchased flood insurance that may be available from catastrophic insurance carriers.   

Examples of flood damage include:

·         A nearby river or stream overflows its banks and washes into your home.

·         Surface water caused by a heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can't absorb the water quickly enough.

·         A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.

Flood damage to your home is usually only covered under a flood insurance policy -- no other insurance will likely cover flood damage.

  • How about other types of water damage?

A homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for many types of water damage to your home. For insurance purposes, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground. A few examples of water damage may include:

·         A windstorm smashes your window, permitting rain free access to your home.

·         A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.

·         A broken water pipe or plumbing fixture spews water in your home.

  • What types of expenses may be covered for customers to mitigate their damages?
    The policyholder’s duties under the insurance contract require them to take reasonable measures to protect covered property from potential losses. 
    • Before a covered loss occurs, this is the policyholder’s financial responsibility: For example, if a tree is in danger of falling on covered property, but has not yet fallen, insurance will not pay for its removal.
    • After a covered loss occurs, insurance will pay the costs of reasonable measures to protect covered property from further losses: For example, insurance would likely pay the cost to remove a tree that has fallen on a home or blocked a driveway, or pay the cost of a contractor who makes a temporary repair to a leaking roof to prevent further damage. (The policyholder should take photos and should not discard any damaged property until authorized to do so.)


  • How are food spoilage claims handled?

The unendorsed home policy typically provides up to $500 for food spoilage losses. If you have a “deluxe” endorsement, you may be eligible for a higher amount.  If you have a Business Owners  Policy or commercial food losses, this should be reported to your insurer.

  • Are “Additional Living Costs (ALE)” allowed?
    ALE coverage only applies if there has been a covered loss or event that makes the premises unfit for use by an insured. Loss of power generally does not qualify as a covered loss to trigger this coverage. 


  • How are covered tree removal claims handled?
    The homeowners policy generally provides the reasonable cost to remove trees that have hit covered property and may be subject to a deductible.  Once such trees are on the ground, there may be additional coverage for their removal. You may also have an endorsement that would provide some coverage to remove trees that have fallen that have not hit covered property.


  • How about backup of sewers and drains?

Some policies may have coverage for backup of sewers of drains, usually with a policy limitation (generally $5000), subject to a deductible.  Again, if you have a “deluxe” coverage endorsement this coverage limit may be increased to $10,000 or higher. For coverage to apply, the insured must have property damage as a result of water entering the building through a floor drain, overflow of sump pump, or other device in the structure. If the water enters the foundation through cracks or opening, there is no coverage.  

  • What if the insured does not have a floor drain or sump pump, but water enters through their perimeter drain?
    There would be no coverage for this type of loss. Water entering the building through the foundation, cracks or opening, even if it is a perimeter drain, is not covered.  Please see above. 


Information regarding FEMA:

FEMA offers an initial level of aid that allows people to get back into their homes and be “safe, warm and dry;” FEMA may also make loans available to help address structural damage. It is emphasized that FEMA aid is limited emergency funding intended to help in the process of making premises inhabitable again, and that property owners should not expect the assistance to cover all damages.


                The following  procedure should be followed:

1.     Call 211 to report your situation; they will take your contact information to send you a FEMA packet.

2.     FEMA requires a letter of no coverage from your insurance carrier. Policy holders should call their insurance agents / carriers as soon as possible to report their claim.

3.     Upon receiving the FEMA packet, fill it out and return it with the denial letter (ie. letter of no coverage).


FEMA stresses that property owners MUST complete and return the packet in order to qualify for any aid; without completing the paperwork, they cannot qualify for anything, and they must keep up with the process when additional information is requested. They indicated that calling 211 is the best way to apply because it not only gets the process kicked off quickly for property owners, but assistance calls placed to 211 are tracked to help their states and communities qualify for federal assistance as well.