Last Saturday torrential rains caused flash flooding along parts of the North Shore, including Lynn. Many cars, homes and businesses were impacted.
A day or so later I was walking through Downtown Lynn when I ran into a City Councilor I know. He asked me a question on behalf of one of his constituents. It seems this constituent had remodeled his basement and had created a "man cave" complete with a home theater system, a bar and assorted furniture necessary to host the Sunday football gatherings. He had literally finished the room Friday night before the rains came. On Saturday morning he awoke to find 13 inches of rain water in his "man cave". The Councilor wanted to know what if any coverage this unfortunate constituent might have.
First, I informed him that any flood damage would not be covered by the homeowners policy. I then let him know that even if the constituent had purchased flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) very little of the damage would be covered under that policy. FEMA on its web site states clearly that the NFIP flood policy "does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors, ceilings or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement". Most likely this homeowner will be eating most of this loss himself.
However there is the possibility that the homeowner did not buy flood insurance through the NFIP, but rather, through the voluntary market. Over the last year or so we have seen a few companies enter this market. As the term "voluntary" suggests these companies can pick and choose who they wish to insure. Not everyone will qualify. They are also free to write their own forms and charge what they believe to be an appropriate price. Some pricing will be higher than the NFIP rates.
What we like is that the companies are using their own forms which in some cases are broader than that provided by the NFIP. One company we use provides much broader coverage. For instance, remodeled basements and contents stored in a basement are covered. If the Councilor's constituent is fortunate enough to have purchased this broader coverage through the voluntary flood market then he would be covered.
If you have remodeled your basement you should talk with an insurance agent to see if they have access to the voluntary flood market. Remember, you need to read the policy to make sure it will cover what you want covered! Not all policies are the same.
If you have any questions or want to see if you qualify or what this coverage would cost. Please call us at 781-598-5000 or email us at info@Columbiainsuranceagency.net.