What is a flood, and what’s the difference between flood coverage and wind coverage?

flood_signTo read the really long version of the FEMA’s definition of a flood, you can click here. But in simple terms, a flood is any temporary instance of rising water affecting two or more acres, or two or more properties, that are typically on dry land. And despite what some may say, all properties in Mobile and Baldwin Counties are in some sort of Flood Zone (we’ll get to more on flood zones in an upcoming post). There are certain flood zones where lenders require flood insurance.


It’s important for property owners in our coastal areas to become educated on the difference between flood and wind coverage. Flood insurance coverage is a single-risk policy that insures against all “direct physical loss by or from flood.” Wind and Hail insurance protects against wind, wind gusts, hail, tornadoes, or cyclones caused whether caused by a hurricane or otherwise. Windstorms are a basic peril that all standard homeowner policies will cover (though you do need to be aware that some carriers will endorse their policies to exclude wind and hail coverage – especially in coastal areas). Your flood policy will not cover wind damage, and your wind policy will not cover damage from flood. Semantics are important in your coverage – so being knowledgeable about what you actually have covered is more important than ever.


Here are a couple of sample scenarios to help explain:


If the wind blows the roof off your house and it rains inside, is that considered a flood?  NO!  The damage to the roof, and the ensuing damage caused by the rain would be considered a loss due to wind because it was the original cause of the loss. Your homeowner’s or dwelling policy will typically cover this type of damage as long as the policy does not exclude wind coverage. Beware that a large deductible may apply to this kind of loss, as some carriers distinguish between a Wind & Hail Deductible and an All other Perils Deductible.


If a water pipe bursts or an appliance overflows inside your home, is that considered a flood event?  NO!  This loss will typically be covered by your homeowner’s or dwelling policy as well.


Let’s say a hurricane hits, and your house is blown off its foundation by winds.  Your homeowner’s policy will generally cover this.  However, if that same hurricane’s storm surge washes your home of its foundation, it’s NOT covered by your homeowner’s policy and will be considered a flood loss.


Not all policies are created equal, so be sure to read your policy carefully for which perils are covered and which are not. And if you ever need advice, feel free to give us a call and we’ll talk you through it – 251.923.4463.