Homeowners insurance policies offer a variety of protections, but they rarely provide insurance coverage for floods. Massachusetts residents who want to safeguard their homes from flood damage usually need flood insurance.
Flood insurance is peril-specific. It generally protects homes and other property from damage caused by floods and other abnormal water patterns. There are flood policies available for homeowners, landlords, and businesses, and some insurers in Massachusetts also offer policies for renters.
The National Flood Insurance Program is a multi-faceted program that helps protect property from flood damage. One of the program’s main purposes is to help homeowners in flood-prone areas, like Brewster, MA, Chatham, MA and Wellfleet, MA, get affordable flood policies.
In order to get a flood policy through the NFIP, a homeowner’s community has to participate in the national program. For residents who are able to take get coverage through this program, the NFIP is typically the most economical way to get a flood policy.
In some instances, homeowners may have access to federal disaster assistance to pay for flood damage. For a flood to be considered a federal disaster, it must be declared so by the President -- and most floods aren’t declared national disasters. Additionally, even when funds are available through federal disaster assistance, they’re provided as an interest-free loan that must be repaid.
USNews reports that a little over 30 square miles of Massachusetts are prone to flooding. The 50,000-plus residents of these regions certainly can benefit from the protections that flood coverage provides. They aren’t the only ones, though.
Residents who live outside of the state’s flood-prone areas may still want a flood policy. Even though a major flood in Springfield, MA or Northampton, MA might be highly unlikely, such a flood would be devastating to many homeowners. Flood coverage for homes in regions where flooding is uncommon is often affordable, and it could provide valuable protection if the unlikely happened.
Other property owners, such as landlords and businesses that have commercial property, may also want to procure flood coverage. While landlord and commercial flood policies are slightly different from flood policies written for homeowners, they offer many similar protections.
Flood policies usually provide against flooding that’s caused by heavy rainfall or large amounts of snowmelt, but this isn’t the only risk that a policy might provide protection from. Many policies also offer coverage against other abnormal water patterns, such as:
Exactly what events a particular flood policy protects against will depend on its terms, conditions, and exclusions.
Many flood policies are designed to insure homes, and they may also cover secondary structures on a property and personal possessions kept in an insured home. Policies for multi-unit dwellings and commercial property, similarly, might provide coverage for secondary structures and equipment. The policies available to renters typically only cover possessions, since tenants aren’t usually expected to insure the buildings they live in.
Massachusetts residents who are interested in flood insurance can call an independent, licensed insurance agent near them for assistance. An agent will be able to check whether a resident’s municipality or county participates in the NFIP. For residents who do, an agent can help secure a policy through the program. For residents who don’t, an independent agent can get quotes for policies available on the private market and help compare the different options.