Finding Calm After the Storm

Knowing what your insurance covers is critical to recovering from Iowa’s Floods of 2016

When the rivers finally crest and the waters recede from Iowa’s floods of 2016, the last place Iowa homeowners want to find themselves is high and dry without adequate insurance coverage.

Don’t wait to read the fine print of your home’s insurance policy to find out you have no coverage from the damage caused by the second most severe flooding event in the Hawkeye State’s history.

Homeowners need to remember most standard home insurance policies don’t cover flooding. Making maters worse: Iowa homeowners living in the 100-year flood plan zone who received Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance following the floods of 2008 – which left a devastating $10 billion damage hit on the state – may not be eligible for disaster payments if they did not maintain flood insurance on their property.

Unfortunately, many Iowa homeowners are already finding themselves up a troubling financial creek without a paddle.

“Furnace, water heater, washer, dryer, freezer, everything,” Linda Peterson of Kittelson, Iowa, told MPR News. “My kids had stuff stored down there and it just came up so fast I wasn’t able to get really anything out. So, I’m sure it’s all at a total loss.

“I don’t have flood insurance, we’re not in a flood plain. So I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Here’s a rundown of property covered in most flood insurance policies:

Building Property

  • The insured building and its foundation.
  • Electrical and plumbing systems.
  • Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters.
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers.
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring.
  • Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets.
  • Window blinds.
  • Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage; other than garages, detached buildings require a separate building property policy).
  • Debris removal.

Personal Content Property

  • Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment.
  • Portable and window air-conditioners.
  • Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers.
  • Carpets that are not included in building coverage.
  • Clothing washers and dryers.
  • Food freezers and the food in them.
  • Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

What’s Not Covered

  • Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner.
  • Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates.
  • Property and belongings outside of an insured building, such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools.
  • Living expenses, such as temporary housing.
  • Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property.
  • Most self-propelled vehicles, such as cars, including their parts (see Section IV.5 in your policy).
  • Flood Insurance for Basements and Areas below the Lowest Elevated Floor
    Coverage is limited in basements regardless of zone or date of construction. It’s also limited in areas below the lowest elevated floor, depending on the flood zone and date of construction. These areas include:
  • Crawl spaces under an elevated building.
  • Enclosed areas beneath buildings elevated on full-story foundation walls that are sometimes referred to as “walkout basements.”
  • Enclosed areas under other types of elevated buildings.

For more flood insurance options and information, visit floodsmart.gov. To get your home looking like the floods of 2016 never happened fast, call in the reconstruction and restoration experts at Reconstruction 380 svensktapotek.net.

Most importantly, find out what financial assistance may be available for you and your family. For homeowners must know what they’re covered for and how to get insurance to both fully recover from Iowa’s massive floods of 2016, and be ready the next time raging flood waters target their American Dream.

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