1) With rare exceptions, homeowner's insurance DOES NOT cover floods.
2) Just because your mortgage company does not require flood insurance DOES NOT mean you don't need it. In fact, 25% of flood victims do not live in typical "flood plain" areas.
3) Flood insurance is backed by the government's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and is sold by special brokers who are frequently not the same as your homeowner's insurance broker.
4) Federally backed flood insurance limits you to $250,000 in coverage for losses to a house and $100,000 for what's inside. Additional coverage not supported by the federal government can be purchased.
5) 80% of Houston flood victims are NOT covered by flood insurance. Only 12% of Americans are covered. FEMA can assist with emergency grants and low-interest loans, but the government does NOT cover all your losses.
A flood is defined as surface water that intrudes into a home that is NOT caused by a sewer or drain backup connected to the property. A heavy thunderstorm that floods streets resulting in water intruding into at least two victims' basements are one example of a flood that would require NFIP coverage. According to the US Government, a flood is also defined as: "a condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of surface that is usually dry land from surface waters of any source."
Do not wait until a hurricane is on the doorstep to purchase flood insurance. The law requires 30-days before a policy takes effect.
Thanks to Jeff Gould of American Claims Management Services for his assistance in compiling this information. Gould is also president of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.