Flood Insurance Question

chisueAugust 28, 2007

While I wait for my insurance company to reply...does anyone know about "contents only" flood insurance?

We haven't had water in our basement, despite heavy rains this month (more than twice the average for August already). We are near a flood plain and our sump is active much of the year.

Our basement is unfinished, 2000 sq. ft., and houses two two-stage furnaces, a boiler and a water heater. We have a sump pump and an ejector pump. We replaced the sump pump this year.

My concern is that we could lose electric power, leaving us without the sump. We've had one two-hour outtage in the six years we've lived here; lines are underground.

I looked into a natural gas powered gas generator -- $10K! A battery backup for the sump would only buy a little time, and I don't want a gasoline powered generator. (I wonder how long it would take to get three inches in our basement -- high enough to reach the furnaces.)

I'm wondering if we couldn't buy "contents only" flood insurance. Would that cover the furnaces, etc.? I'm guessing it could cost $20-30K to replace everything. The FEMA chart shows that would cost about $200-300 a year, as opposed to $2100 for full basement coverage.

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davidandkasie

never heard of it for residential. i know you can get building only, or building and contents, adn i know at work we have contents flood policies on some of our sites.

if your policy would cost 2100 a year, then you need the full coverage. i am in a major flood zone and mine is only 950 a year! for yours to be this high you must be in a 10 year flood plain or something.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 6:21PM
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chisue

We're on an acre beside a creek (actually was dug as a drainage ditch nearly 100 years ago). The back corner of our lot is in a 100-year flood plain. I think the FEMA model assumes our *house* is built on that part -- not.

I'm not worried that we would flood due to the ditch. I'm worried we would flood due to an electrical outage making our sump fail to bail the groundwater from a heavy rain.

The FEMA chart shows three categories, something like: Building and Contents, Building Only, Contents Only. My questions are: 1) Does Contents Only mean coverage for the furnaces, water heater, etc. or just "furnishings"; 2) Can we get Contents Only? Still waiting to hear back from State Farm. (Know they are busy after flooding in WI and IL.)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:26AM
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Karen_sl

Ok, here is somehting most folks do not understand...YOU can not buy flood insurance unless you are in a flood plain.
And you can not make a claim against it unless your area is declared a flood.
Want to make it harder yet??
Its really expensinve and you have to name an amount of coverage that you want. Where we live here in Michigan most folks only buy it if their mortgage co says they have to have it...
Its hard to understand some of the thoughts behind the insurance and the coverage...I sold insurance for 10 years (at State Farm) and it was changing all the time!
Karen L

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 1:30AM
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chisue

Thanks Karen. I've yet to hear back, but appreciate your warning that perhaps even if I could buy contents only it would only pay out if we "flood" as opposed to taking water because the elec. goes out and the sump can't work.

Gosh, this is like "health" insurance that only pays when your "health" is shot.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:09AM
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blue_velvet_elvis

A battery operated sump pump might be a good plan for you. They kick in after the power is out and the other sump stops working. We got one after the big ice storm late winter when we were out of power for five days.

You may also want to get a mechanical failure endorsement on your policy as well. If the sump goes out it would cover you.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 6:28AM
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chisue

The things I learn here! "Mechanical Failure" endorsement! I'll look into it. Thank you.

I thought about a battery backup. We have an alarm on the sump. I figure that IF I could find a gasoline generator, which I'd need for a prolonged outage, I'd have time to find it before our 2000 sq ft basement flooded high enough to do damage (just cement floor and walls). Not crazy about tending the battery; what does it require?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 11:13AM
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rachelh

So what can you buy if you are not in a flood plain? I'm sure it's just an issue of semantics but my mother said she just purchased flood insurance. And who declares the flood?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 1:48PM
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chisue

rachelh -- I wonder if she bought sewer backup coverage. That's different from water coming in from outside the house. Our refular policy covers stuff like a dishwasher overflowing or the washer supply line breaking, but not "floods" (water from outside) and not sewer backup

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 3:34PM
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