Do I Need Flood Insurance if I have Home Insurance?

When it rains, sometimes it can pour. And here in Wisconsin, flooding has long been part of the state’s history, especially since we often experience somewhat fickle weather conditions. Floods can occur in the spring and summer during heavy rainstorms and even in the winter, when snow can melt rapidly, per the U.S. Geological Survey.

Homeowners and property owners in designated floodplains – areas close to rivers and other bodies of water in which floods are more likely to occur – throughout the state are familiar with the risks. But if you own property outside the designated floodplains, that doesn’t mean your property isn’t at risk. In fact, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 25% of all National Flood Insurance Program recipients live outside of these high-risk areas.

Flood Safety Awareness Week is observed during the second full week of March every year. Regardless of where you live in Wisconsin, here’s what you should know about water protection.

Do I already have flood insurance?

There doesn’t have to be a downpour for there to be structural damage to your property. One inch of water can result in thousands of dollars in damages to your home.

However, it’s important to not count on your home or renters’ insurance to cover all expenses. Rural Mutual offers a Limited Water Endorsement, which has the ability to provide protection from flood exposures. Typically, most of those events will be excluded within the homeowner’s base policy if this endorsement is not attached. There are certain types of water events that may be covered, however. For example, a frozen pipe that breaks and causes damage in your basement might be covered in the base policy. Your typical “flood” type event, though, would most likely not be covered.

We recommend adding this water endorsement to as many individuals as possible if they qualify. Limit options start as low as $5,000 and go up to as much as $50,000 so you can make sure you’re properly covered.

What does flood insurance cover?

Keep in mind that insurance around water damage doesn’t cover every damaged item. The Limited Water Endorsement provides protection for:

  • Dwelling
  • Detached structures
  • Household personal property
  • Loss of use
  • Sewer back-up
  • Sump pump-overflow

Weather is changing in Wisconsin

The weather in Wisconsin is changing, which is a key reason to invest in enhanced water protection. Since 1950, the state’s average annual precipitation has increased between 5% and 20% year after year, according to the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts.

Most recently, according to the Global Health Institute, 2019 was one of the wettest years on record with more than 43 total inches of rain and snow. Precipitation levels are projected to rise even more over the next 50 years.

Where are the greatest flood risks?

Although some areas in Wisconsin are less likely to be impacted by flooding, it’s still important to be cognizant of risks. No matter where you live, rest assured you have the means to stay protected. Twenty out of the 72 Wisconsin counties (27%) have received federal disaster advisories due to flooding in the last 6 years, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The increased annual precipitation in Wisconsin will continue to place properties at risk for flooding.

A water endorsement will not prevent the rain to fall, but it can give you peace of mind should a disaster ever strike. Water damage can cause lots of stress to property owners and tenants. To prevent detrimental financial losses, make sure your home is covered with our Limited Water Endorsement. Contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent to learn more about how to protect your home against unwanted water.