Flooding is the quiet disaster.   It occurs suddenly, unpredictably, and erratically. One day, you’re high and dry. The next, your wooden picnic table is floating off your deck headed downstream.

In the wake of storms that resulted in dramatic flooding and related property damage Congress has been tinkering with the pricing structure and coveraged offered through the Federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Meanwhile, it’s important to review your new or existing homeowern’s policy to see what kind of water damage is covered and if you might need extra coverage to recover from a flood.

 

First, make sure that any coverage you already have covers the replacement value of your house; anyrenovations or additions you’ve made; and belongings likely to be ruined by floodwaters.

The damage most people think of is sodden carpet and waterlogged drywall, which must be ripped out and replaced. But dirty floodwater can also ruin your furnace, air-conditioner and and below-grade heating and ventilation systems. Floating debris can knock off your deck or porch. Landscaping can be ruined by chemicals in floodwaters.

A recent paper published by insurer National General Lender Services outlines some key points for homeowners/ Make sure that your policy covers more than just the amount of the mortgage. If you have a mortgage, your lender requires you to have flood insurance, if you are in certain flood-prone zones as defined by the Federal Government.

But that minimial amount of coverage protects the portion of your house owned by the lender. Be sure that the policy covers the whole market value of the house so that what you own is insured, too.

Also scrutinize the policy to make sure that it covers living and out-of-pocket expenses during the rebuilding and recovery period. You might need to replace clothes, your home computer, and gear in your home office…all stuff you don’t want to have to p ay for yourself when you are also dealing with the aftermath of a flood.

Take a wide view of the scope of potential disaster and ask your property insurance agent wat kind of coverage would be best.