How to Protect Your Home From Water Damage
Water damage is one of the most common and costly disasters affecting U.S. residences, accounting for billions of dollars in losses to homeowners and renters annually. However, consumers can protect themselves with the right amount and type of insurance coverage.
Standard homeowners and renters insurance provides coverage for burst pipes, wind driven rain and damage resulting from ice dams on your roof. Some policies cover sewer and drain backups, but many do not; however, you can purchase a sewer backup rider to a homeowners or renters policy for approximately an additional $50 each year, with the policy limits varying depending upon the insurer.
Generally speaking, water that comes from the top down, such as rainfall, is covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, while water that comes from the bottom up, such as an overflowing river, is covered by a separate flood insurance policy. Flood insurance can be purchased from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and from some private insurers.
The average flood insurance policy costs $540 a year, according to the NFIP. For homeowners, the maximum amount of coverage available from the NFIP is $250,000 for damages to the home’s structure, and $100,000 for losses to its contents. There is a 30-day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to go into effect. For those who want coverage beyond the limits offered by an NFIP policy, excess flood insurance is available from a number of private insurance companies.
Properly maintaining a home is one of the best ways to prevent water damage. A homeowner can prevent water seepage by painting water-sealant around the basement, and avert a sewer backup by installing and maintaining a backwater valve which allows sewage to go out, but not come back in.