Does your homeowner’s policy cover flash flooding?: Not likely in Colorado

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 21:04:44-04

“Our house sitter called us last night at 1:30 in the morning to say, ‘there’s a big problem, you’ve got a lot of water in your basement,” said a homeowner from Colorado Springs’ northeast side named Erick. He and his family headed home early from vacation to assess the damage caused by flooding from a storm the day before.

Only there are questions over how the flooding happened. They bought the house new not long ago and the contractor will check to see if there are drainage issues with the build. If not, there’s been a discussion with their insurance company USAA that puts in question whether damage is covered. “I could be covered if the reason the window broke was hail,” said Erick, “But, if they say the reason that window broke was water, I don’t have flood insurance and at that point they get to walk away.”

All the flash-flooding in Colorado brings attention to the issue of how best to insure a home against potential flood damage. “From our experience, very few folks in Colorado have flood insurance,” said Edgin Insurance and Financial, Owner, Robert Edgin. Living in the mountains many do not see a cost benefit. Flood insurance also has to be bought separate from a homeowner’s policy.

With insurance coverage, there is a difference between water damage and flood damage. “Flood damage usually hits the ground first. It’s ground water,” said Edgin. Flood damage typically comes up from the ground or across the ground into a home. Water damage coverage depends on the policy. Hail breaking a window and allowing rain in the home could qualify for coverage. If that same window breaks from the pressure of flood water flowing into it, that is likely flood damage and not covered by a Colorado homeowner’s policy. “All home insurance, pretty much excludes flood damage in the state of Colorado,” said Edgin, “That’s a different policy, but your home policy does list from every company what is and is not covered."

Colorado’s flashflood season is right now. Only adding a last minute flooding policy is not an option. You have to plan ahead if you want flood insurance.  "Once you’re in the middle of flood season you can’t get flood insurance right away,” said Edgin, “Flood policies have a mandatory 30 day waiting period."