Is your family buying flood insurance now?

I’m starting to think we’re big dumb dumbs because we’ve already replaced 630 square feet of carpet in our basement that was ruined in the last flood ($1,300 for anyone who’s keeping track, including a wet/dry vac, and pulling the carpet out), and now I’m panicked we’re going to flood again this week!

I know I will get my exercise today running up and down the stairs checking to make sure no water is coming into the basement.

The thought (stupidly) never even occurred to me the last time. So what we’ve gotten more than 20 inches of rain in 24 hours. We’re not on a flood plain. We’ve never had water come into our house.

It took us three weeks to recover from just that inch or two of water seeping under the basement door. It was sopped up by the carpet and the thick padding underneath.

When the carpet was finally pulled up about four days after the flooding, almost every area underneath was wet. We had no idea it was that wide spread.

I have called our insurance company about getting flood insurance. (Again we’re not anywhere near a flood plain but now we are paranoid!) It takes 30 days for flood insurance to kick in so it won’t help if it does flood again this week, but I think we’re still going to do it.

The price for the flood insurance was pretty reasonable. I’m not an insurance expert but I believe it’s based on how close you are to sources of water (including outdoor pools – they asked if we or our immediate neighbors had a pool) and if you are on or near any flood plains.

For our house, it was approximately $144 a year for $20,000 worth of coverage for damage to the house itself and $8,000 in damage to personal property. (Carpet would have fallen under personal property.) There is a $1,000 deductible for each part of the policy.

I’m leaning toward the $173 a year for $30,000 worth of coverage to the house and $12,000 to personal property. (Also $1,000 deductible.)

The agent told me that the average cost of repair for 1 foot to 2-feet of water in a basement is $30,000 to $50,000.

We were lucky we didn’t have any drywall damage. That would have been much more expensive.

So, I guess all I can do is keep checking today and make sure all my drain spouts are headed away from the house and draining properly.

Are you considering flood insurance now? Are you on or near a flood plain? Have you gotten any quotes? Did you find them reasonable for the protection? Have you already replaced your damaged areas? Are you worried about them getting flooded again?

39 comments Add your comment

julia

October 14th, 2009
6:38 am

I was told that you had to have a survey person come and look at your land first before you could even get flood insurance.

Wanda

October 14th, 2009
7:16 am

I am with you on this one, have already called my insurance company to obtain flood insurance. My area did not get flooded but there is a creek on the main street that leads to my subdivison. Don’t want to take any chances. I was told by my agent he did not have to come to my house before they will give me coverage. I guess it depends on where you live and if you are in a flood plane. Good Luck and Be Blessed with all the rain about to come.

Vork

October 14th, 2009
7:39 am

SIGH….yet another easy answer to yet another not–so-exciting topic.

If you want peace of mind – get flood insurance, if not don’t.

Andrea

October 14th, 2009
7:46 am

I think it is definitely worth getting.

Insurance Expert

October 14th, 2009
7:57 am

Let’s do the math – you had $1300 in damages, and the flood insurance policy will cost either $144 or $173, with a $1000 deductible in either case. So, in essence, had you had flood ins. this past time you would have saved, at most $156.

Now, think about most flood plains – they are usually 100 year areas, meaning that in “typical” times they flood every 100 years. So, if you happened to live IN a flood plain (and lived another 100 years) that would be 100 x $173 (or $144) = $17,300 for a potential $30,000 loss, though it was only $1300 this time. Since you do not live in a flood plain, then the likelihood of future rains being this extreme (as in causing this much water damage just from rain) is remote.

So, do you want peace of mind for $144/$173 a year, while knowing that IF you do utilize the insurance you will probably get cancelled, thus driving up the price of all of your homeowner insurance costs? In my mind, it is a no win situation for you and you are wasting that $144 or $173. But, then again, for this amount you do get peace of mind.

Christina

October 14th, 2009
8:01 am

Just to play devil’s advocate here . . . with all the historic rain a few weeks ago, you only got 1-2″ in your basement and it cost $1300. Statistically, they said the phenomenon we saw happens only every 100-500 years (depending upon who you ask, apparently). So it is VERY unlikely that you will ever see that much water again, let alone 1-2 feet of water in your basement. (How much rain would that require, based on the fact that two feet of rain brought you less than 2″ inside??) If damage was $1300 and you have a $1000 deductible, you would have gotten $300. Unless it happens every two years, you won’t recoup the cost of the insurance.

Sure, it is possible we could someday see even more water than we did three weeks ago. But the cards are stacked so high against that scenario, that I wouldn’t think it’s worth it for us. (We had no water intrusion despite flooded rivers and closed roads within a couple miles of our house–our house sits elevated and our basement is unfinished.)

And honestly, my husband works for a major insurance carrier. You’d be surprised the loopholes that allow the company to not pay a claim, or to pay less than the homeowner expected. Even he is shocked by some of the denials. So I guess I’m also a bit skeptical about the insurance company coming through on a policy even if the homeowner thinks something should be covered . . .

Patrick

October 14th, 2009
8:39 am

Only reason why a provider wouldn’t sell you flood insurance, even if you’re not in a flood plain, would be to save themselves money, not you, if a freak flood like what happened a couple weeks ago were to occur. If anything, they should be happy to write the policy for you, if nothing more than to make more money, knowing full well there’s a slim to nil chance your house would be flooded, therefore not having to worry too much about having to pay for repairs and replacement of personal property.

As for the basement, I’d highly recommend taking up the carpet altogether, and replacing with vinyl flooring or tile. That way if it floods, you just have to wet-dry vac the water up and mop the floor. With carpeted basements, if it floods, you’d be best to have the carpeting and padding removed and replaced. Mold and mildew can build up if not properly cleaned and dried thoroughly, which can lead to several health problems in the family, especially the kids.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 14th, 2009
8:43 am

We’ve got hardwoods all on our main level so the carpet in the basement is the best place for them to roll around and play. I think they need some place comfortable to play and their bedroom floors aren’t big enough for serious play.

Dan

October 14th, 2009
9:05 am

Christina has it exactly right, it is simple math. Insurance is meant to be for catastrophes, $1300 is not a catastrophe. and please don’t tell me about for some people it is. It is not much more than an annual cable or satellite bill AND you get new carpet.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 14th, 2009
9:30 am

This was clearly not a catastrophe — but the point is if you did have more damage you couldn’t just pay $20,000 out of pocket. We have several friends and multiple families in our neighborhood who had more than $20,000 in damage and did have to tear out all the drywall and cut the wood and replace everything — This time we were lucky. Will there be a next time?? Who knows?? Is it worth $147 not to have to worry about it?? I think yes.

DB

October 14th, 2009
9:46 am

I wouldn’t bother, not if you’re not in a 100-year flood plain. I had flood insurance in South Florida, where you’re 10 feet above sea level and tropical storms appeared with boring regularity — it was required by our mortgage company, for obvious reasons, but I would have gotten it, regardless. A wet basement is NOT a flood — it’s a nuisance. A flood is a waterline up to the chandelier!

When our basement was flooded last year with a broken hot water heater, it did abou $3,000 worth of damage (now that the kids are out of the playroom stage, I don’t often go down there, so it had probably begun leaking several days prior.) It’s a daylight basement, but we’ve always had issues with a little moisture around the doors, etc. during severe rains. After having almost 1,800 sq feet of carpet ripped out (sigh), we got several estimates for staining the concrete — they have some gorgeous staining technology, now. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for us because of some issues with our concrete (very rough concrete, they would have had to put in a skim layer of concrete to stain, which would have doubled the cost.) My plans were to stain the concrete and then put down an inexpensive, colorful area rug. That might work for you, Theresa — give the kids a rug to roll around on and to “warm up” the room, and yet make it easy to roll up the carpet if you’re worried about water.

Google “concrete staining” and you will be amazed at some of the effects they can do!

Jesse's Girl

October 14th, 2009
9:49 am

I gotta say….I’m kinda with Vork on this one. (i just threw up in my mouth a little:)

Taxpayer Funded Option Now.

October 14th, 2009
9:52 am

Someone is getting ripped. I paid All-State/FEMA $364. for $250,000. house and $100,000. contents coverage, I’ve got a lake and no visit was necessary. NO-brainer.

Sarah

October 14th, 2009
10:39 am

Unfortunately, I understand that the flood policy has to be in place for at least 30 days before anything is covered. I hope the bad rains hold off for a while.

Ashley

October 14th, 2009
10:44 am

I agree with Vork…….yet again.

Becky

October 14th, 2009
10:51 am

I don’t see any need for me to have flood ins.where I live..As others said, I also could not justify the cost..I am very blessed with a husband that would be able to fix any damage done to our house..To any that had flood damage, I hope all turns out well for you..

My niece and her boyfriend lost their home and 3 cars in the flood..They were able to savage some clothes, but that was about all..

lmno

October 14th, 2009
11:49 am

Carpets in the basement are not a great idea. Get an area rug for the rug rats. Its much easier to replace. Put down tile, commercial or ceramic, and you won’t be going through this again.

Also, vork is right again.

I don’t know if its because your life is so comfortable that you aren’t able to have perspective enough to be able to relate to more controversial topics, but surely you know someone with topics that would be more difficult and woudl spark a wider view of things.

Personally, I’d love to see at least one column dedicated to the over medication of our children.

Becky

October 14th, 2009
12:32 pm

@Vork..See you’re growing on some people here..Your first post was perfect..

Anto

October 14th, 2009
12:52 pm

Becky, do you have to sound so patronizing all the time???

JJ

October 14th, 2009
1:08 pm

Anto – she’s not patronizing……..she’s stating an opinion. It’s how you are reading it. Try again, this time with a smile on your face. See if it sounds patronizing then……..

Valstake

October 14th, 2009
1:10 pm

Theresa, if you want to make sure the basement doesn’t suffer ground water intrusion, you must seal the foundation of the house. I have no clue of the cost, but that’s really the only effective way to keep the water out. I’m with the folks who advocate the use of area rugs; attractive, and also easy to move.

Observer

October 14th, 2009
1:31 pm

Insurance Expert – If you were truly an expert, you would know that flood insurance is only offered through the Nation Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and being a federally funded program, the coverage can’t be cancelled due to claims experience. I own an insurance agency and I have a client who lives on the banks of Peachtree Creek that has had multiple flood claims. There are no concerns about cancellation.

Vork

October 14th, 2009
1:52 pm

Look Ma I have fans….

Becky

October 14th, 2009
2:57 pm

@Anto..If you would read back on some of these blogs, you would see that others on here have been giving Vork a tough time..I was just saying that by the looks of posters today, he’s growing on some people..So if you want to think of that as patronizing, feel free to..I still think he’s right with his fist post..Thanks JJ..

Anto

October 14th, 2009
3:16 pm

Becky, I was referring to all your comments, not solely the one directed at Vork today. Take some of the comments posted yesterday as an example………

Tinkerballa

October 14th, 2009
3:18 pm

It is a sad day indeed…….Captain Lou Albano has died…..RIP Mario.

Tiffany

October 14th, 2009
3:45 pm

Maybe we could talk about that cross dressing teen in Cobb County-now there’s a topic! A lot of us have teens who could relate to that in some form…

Becky

October 14th, 2009
3:59 pm

@Anto..Read them any way you want..I didn’t say anything yesterday that was patronizing..Everyones opinions are different and I am so thankful for that..

motherjanegoose

October 14th, 2009
4:20 pm

In from Texas and out to Alaska…no time to post but I do see that even when I am not posting there are those who pick on ANYONE available.

Once again, I guess it is easier to come up with something critical than something thought provoking. Just my opinion.

If Theresa wants to do a column on thread count for sheets…that is HER choice. If the AJC gets sick of her topics, THEY will boot her out….so far, she has been here for a while and as far as I know, is still getting paid to come up with whatever she deems to mention.

Have a good week all.

Becky

October 14th, 2009
4:41 pm

motherjanegoose..When you are in other states working, do you ever have time to sightsee? I don’t recall ever reading that you’ve said you do..

Jesse's Girl

October 14th, 2009
5:25 pm

@Vork…Fans? No..not so much. An appreciation for the sentiment…perhaps.

Hey, Observer...

October 14th, 2009
5:34 pm

…”expert” was talking about having the regular homeowners cancelled – maybe it is you who needs a refresher course in what you are selling and what happens after a claim is made!!!

catlady

October 14th, 2009
6:39 pm

How much would it cost to fix the outside of your basement so the water cannot come in? Didn’t you say it seeped in around the door? How much to fix the problem entirely (since you are not in a flood plain)? Would that be more cost effective now and a plus when you sell?

BTW, what do your kids DO in the basement? Are they linebackers for the Steelers or something? Can they play wild outside? Even in rainy or cold weather, I am sure they have coats etc and could use some big-muscle run around fresh air time.

motherjanegoose

October 14th, 2009
7:29 pm

@ Becky…sometimes I try to build time in but with 24-30 trips per year, it does not always work.
I cannot stay in each place 3 or 4 extra days or I would lose my clients here. That could be an extra 50-90 days out of town without work. I am on my own this fall and no one is joining me! My daughter is in charge of the house and doing a pretty good job with her Dad and brother.

I was in Alaska a few years back and my family came too. It was grand. We also enjoyed Boston together, one year when I had a meeting in New Hampshire. My daughter and I have been back to Boston and we loved it. We all went to Philly years ago and also Williamsburg. Mine have been to Disneyland with me several times, when I had meetings in Anaheim. Also Sea World in Florida. Once, a consultant I met got us FREE passes to Disneyworld! We have been up to Sedona a few times from Phoenix and also down to Pikes Peak from Denver.

Good family trips. I told my daughter I would take her anywhere for her spring break, She is still thinking about it.

I was across the lake from Canada on Saturday and the leaves were GORGEOUS. I have now been in all states but Montana and was invited but could not work it into my schedule. I plan to take my daughter with me to Norfolk in the spring, as the meeting is near Waterside. We also like to stay a few days at the Mall of America in Minneapolis and my sister comes over to meet us…fun for girls!

As many of you know, I am pretty frugal with spending and not a flashy person. I am able to get lots of perks when traveling ( from my clients who hire me) and thus can take my family on trips for next to nothing. I would rather drive a less expensive car and live within my means and be able to travel. My kids have seen more than most kids and have even been to Hawaii a few times!

Off to finish packing!

motherjanegoose

October 14th, 2009
7:53 pm

OOOPs, I forgot to mention that my husband joined me in Atlantic City, NYC ( pre 911) and Las Vegas. We all went to Hershey and Washington DC too!

I have been LOTS of places and am blessed to know LOTS of people. Whenever posters on this blog are critical, I try to remind myself that there are oodles more people who actually know me and do appreciate my ideas in spite of those who rag on me in this small circle.

To each his own! Have a great week all!

hayley

October 14th, 2009
7:56 pm

Enter your comments here

motherjanegoose

October 14th, 2009
9:48 pm

I am such a raging bitch I can’t believe any of you buy my banquet of BS.

motherjanegoose

October 15th, 2009
6:38 am

9:48 troll poster it’s YOU who needs to read my 2nd paragraph from the 7:53 post…

outta here….have a good day all!

Becky

October 15th, 2009
8:29 am

motherjanegoose..Sounds like you have (in some ways) the best of both worlds..Glad to hear that you and your family benefit from the work that you do and that you really, really enjoy..