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Water vs. flood damage

Florida homeowners know all too well the damage water can inflict on their property. Such damage often results in a claim made to the homeowner’s insurance company, from which compensation is provided to repair and replace damaged fixtures. While water damage can be covered by standard property insurance, flooding and other types of water damage require separate coverage.

To know the difference between flood and water damage, you must first understand the definition of a flood. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is defined as typically dry land being partially or totally besieged by seas, inland bodies of water, runoff surface waters, and mudslides. Floods usually fall into three categories, which includes shallow, river line, and coastal flooding.

Now that you have an understanding of what flooding actually is, the next step is to determine what types of water damage a standard property insurance policy would actually cover. Allstate explains that most homeowners’ policies offer dwelling and personal property coverage. If a burst pipe in your home ruins the walls or other fixtures, repairs would be compensated by dwelling coverage. Conversely, if the same burst pipe also damaged your personal belongings, such as a laptop or items of clothing, personal property coverage would apply. These policies may also offer protection for something like a leaking pipe, but only if the leak occurred suddenly and without prior warning.

It also helps to understand what type of water damage is not covered by property insurance. Of course, any type of flood damage must be covered by separate insurance. Lack of maintenance is also not covered, nor are sewer backups, which require separate policies much like flooding. Also, even if water damage is included in your policy you may not have access to funds to repair the source of the damage. For example, if a broken dishwasher caused damage to your home, your insurance will pay for repairs to floors, walls, and belongings but not to the washing machine itself.

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