Will insurance help cover damage from this week's flooding in Metro Detroit?

Flood damage devastating for some residents

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DETROIT – The damage from floods this week in Metro Detroit has been devastating in some areas. Many Metro Detroiters are seeing all their possessions destroyed.

Hopefully, most are insured, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee coverage in an event like this.

We talked with Adrienne Woodland from AAA, who says in situations like this, documenting the damage is the most important thing. Take pictures of everything.

Many insurance policies require a specific clause for problems, especially when water is brought inside the home through a sewer line.

Flood insurance covers larger weather events in which the water rushes in through windows or doors.

The best thing you can do right now is to call your insurance agent regarding coverage to your home. When you call, it’s a good idea to go over your coverage and discuss any changes that you may need.

The summer storms are just starting and you don’t want to be in this position again.

Car policies for events like this kind of flooding are more forgiving. The flooding goes under the comprehensive part of your policy, typically. There’s usually a deduction involved, so contact your agent to see what yours is.

If you are calling and there are long wait times, Woodland suggests going online and filing a claim that way. No matter how you file, it’s good to do it right away.

Facts about 'flood insurance'

This information should give you some key talking points as you review your existing insurance coverage, or if you're shopping for new protection.

First, when you buy homeowner's insurance, you are not buying flood insurance.

Homeowners specifically excludes flood insurance. There are two separate and distinct polices.

  • All flood insurance policies are backed by the federal government.
  • The government sets all rates.
  • Flood insurance never covers contents in a basement. It only covers the basement's foundation and drywall. It does not cover carpeting, paneling or tile.
  • Most flood insurance policies just cover the dwelling, in case the home is swept away in a flood.
  • You can purchase flood insurance for the contents of the main floor, but that will add to your premium.
  • Flood insurance will cover certain major appliances, including furnaces, air conditioners, freezers, etc.
  • It will not cover stereos, televisions, furniture, or other contents.

Key distinction: What's a flood?

Flood insurance involves water coming into your home from rain, a river, a lake or external source of water. Flood insurance does not cover water sewer backup, which is what we've seen around Metro-Detroit this time around.

Three things to understand

Here are three facts you must understand about insurance protection during a flood event.

  • Just buying homeowners insurance isn't enough to protect your belongings.
  • Flood insurance covers damage caused by water coming into the dwelling. Most people don't have it, unless they live on a flood plain and are required by their mortgage to purchase the coverage. You cannot cover most of the contents in your basement with flood insurance.
  • You'll want to consider water sewer backup coverage in Metro-Detroit. Talk to your agent about that type of policy.

If you’re looking how to protect yourself, there’s a National Flood Insurance Program that you can also check out. Visit the website here.

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