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Homeowners Insurance vs. Flood Insurance


Over Memorial Day weekend, historic flooding in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and northern Mexico left 31 people dead, 13 people still missing, and countless homes destroyed. After weeks of rain--not uncommon during May in the Gulf Coast--a severe weather system stalled over the region, producing more rain than an already saturated area could absorb. Houston, Texas, saw rainfall of up to 4 inches an hour, making highways into rivers and causing over 2,500 vehicles to be abandoned. In Hays County, Texas, outside Austin, 11 people are still missing, and 400 homes were washed away by fast moving water and rivers that rose to two to three times flood stage. In the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuna, across from Del Rio, Texas, a deadly tornado struck, killing 13 people and flattening 200 homes.


When Mother Nature strikes with such sudden and devastating force, it is easy to think that nothing can be done to protect against the harm inflicted. But protection is possible. One way to protect homes and possessions is flood insurance. Standard homeowners or renters insurance does not cover flood damage, but flood coverage can be obtained in a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and from a few private insurers. Information on NFIP can be found on

A policy under NFIP limits coverage for damage to the structure of a home to $250,000, and coverage for personal possessions to $100,000. The total coverage, therefore, is $350,000. There is a thirty-day waiting period before coverage takes effect, so it is advisable to purchase coverage before flood/rainy season. Policies are available to homeowners and renters.

If the $350,000 coverage limit is insufficient, excess flood insurance coverage can be obtained outside of the NFIP.


The difference in what is covered under homeowners or renters insurance and what is covered under flood insurance can be very confusing. The best way to understand the distinction between the types of policies is to remember that it is the cause of the damage that determines what is covered. For example, if a severe storm with fierce winds blows part of a roof off a home and rainwater enters the home through the opening in the roof, the water damage is covered by the homeowners insurance. If, however, the same storm causes flash flooding to send water through the first floor of the home, the damage caused by the flood water would not be covered by the homeowners policy; a separate flood insurance policy would be necessary to cover the damage.


If you have suffered injury or your home has been damaged from severe weather, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case.

Categories: News, Floods, Severe Weather
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Thomas Law Firm
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