Flood Insurance: What You NEED to Know

Flood Insurance: What You NEED to Know

Even though some homes are covered by flood insurance, owners are quickly learning they may not be eligible for as much money as they hoped.
Dozens of homes around New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire have suffered flood damage in recent weeks. Even though some homes are covered by flood insurance, owners are quickly learning they may not be eligible for as much money as they hoped.

The Alchemist Cannery was humming Wednesday, nearly two years after Irene swamped the old location in Waterbury Village.

Alchemist owner Jennifer Kimmich recalls, "the basement was completely full, and then we had about 3.5-4 feet on our first floor."

The basement was the heart of the business, full of supplies and brewery equipment.

By all accounts Jennifer and her husband did everything right- they had flood insurance, not only for their building, but also the contents. The problem- they weren't told that things in the basement were not covered.

Because of that they were out thousands of dollars.

"It was a disgusting mess-we were never told that nothing in the basement would be covered," Kimmich says.

Flood policies often include two parts.

Building coverage-which is often required and only covers the structure itself-and contents coverage, which is optional and includes most items inside.

That excludes anything in basements or crawl spaces, money or precious metals inside, and exterior structures like decks.

An "average" flood policy costs $600 a year, but that depends on many factors.

Aaron Connor, an Account Manager at Hickok and Boardman Insurance in Burlington explains, "obviously the biggest one is the flood zone that you're in- high risk or low risk zone. The number of stories in your home, and the year of construction is also a big point as well."

Conner says it is wise to photograph and document your possessions before a flood to make the claims process easier.

Some homes are required by mortgage companies to carry flood insurance, but any homeowner can purchase it. Just be sure you read the fine print of the policy.

To learn if you're in a high or low risk zone, or to see how much flood insurance would cost you, visit this website.
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