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Flood Insurance Can Bail You Out

Aug 4, 2008
With record amounts of rain in many parts of the nation this year, the topic of flood insurance has gained a lot of attention. Flooding occurred in areas where it hadn't before, or at least not in decades. Not every homeowner has flood insurance and the worst time to realize that you should have it is after your condo, townhome or single family house has sustained water damage. Flooding can not only destroy your material possessions but also do major structural damage that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. So even if you think there is little chance of flooding where you live, the cost of an insurance premium is cheaper than replacing home furnishings or repair costs.

Chicago real estate can be susceptible to flooding from several different ways. Even if you live in a new construction condo such as those listed here http://www.bestchicagocondos.com/new-construction-condos/index.html, you could possibly experience flooding. Excavation nearby might change the normal drainage of the area and cause rain water to run off into your property. Nearby construction could cause surface flooding during storms or from heavy snow melt in spring. The unexpected main water line could burst and leak into your unit. And in older structures you may discover that your building's roof is poor construction or in need of repair or that the basement storage area leaks after a heavy rain. Your condo association fees may already cover flooding, but you should carefully check to be sure.

Your basic home insurance policy does not cover flood related damage. Individual companies and policies will vary of course, so you need to read yours thoroughly. Many condo and home insurance policies will state that water damage is covered only if wind or fire damage occurs first to let the water in. There are insurance companies who may go to great lengths to try and prove that water damage you sustain isn't covered. That's why it's important to have a separate policy so there won't be any doubt as to your coverage.

Statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency state that 25% of all flood damage and claims occur in areas of the country classified as low to moderate risk. It's possible that your mortgage holder or bank won't require you to have flood insurance unless you are in a high risk area. But you can purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. That policy will cover the cost of rebuilding your condo or home and replacing the contents that were damaged or lost.

The federally backed insurance will usually only max out at the policy limit and not account for increased construction costs due to inflation or any other unforeseen expense. The FEMA insurance will allow up to $250,000 for the structure and another $100,000 for the contents. If you think you will need more, you'll have to buy additional coverage from a private insurance company. Your rates will largely depend upon the level of flood risk in your area. Actual coverage generally won't start until 30 days after you purchase the policy, so waiting until a flood warning is issued will be too late. Even if you rent you are still eligible for content coverage. And unlike car or health insurance, the quote you get for flood insurance for your specific condo or home and location should be the same no matter from whom you purchase it.

So unless you live in the desert or on a house boat, you may want to seriously consider checking into flood insurance for your condo, town home, single family residence and the contents. Don't let your life, dreams and bank account get washed away. Flood insurance may be the life jacket you need to survive.
About the Author
Paula Cherrist writes articles about Chicago real estate, home trends and housing related topics for About Chicago Real Estate.
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