Flood insurance is not something every apartment owner in NYC thinks about. It is something, though, that many of you need to think about. Here are a few things you need to know about flood insurance before you make a decision or a purchase.
Understanding Flood Damage
Flood damage is a catch all term for many people. In the world of insurance, though, it requires to a very specific type of damage from water – not all water damage. For instance, if your water washing machine leaks and floods your apartment, this is not considered flood damage and is most likely covered by your renters insurance.
By the same token, if your leaking washing machine floods into the apartment down below, your renters insurance liability protection will also offer protection, up to the limits of the policy, for the damage your leaking washing machine caused to the building structure and the possessions of the renters below you.
Even during storms, like hurricanes, renters insurance can cover water damage that happens to your NYC apartment if a tree smashes into the window allowing rain to flood into your apartment.
What renters insurance does not cover is when waters from overflowing streams, rivers, and even the Upper Bay come pouring into your home.
What Causes Flooding?
While it is true that hurricanes are major contenders for causing storms, they are not the only reasons New York City apartments flood. In addition to tropical systems that dump a large amount of rain onto the city in a short amount of time, winter storms and blizzards that have a high wind impact can blow waters from the rivers surrounding NYC as well as the Bay into apartments that are at street level or below.
Then in spring, when the snows are melting north of New York and flowing downstream it can cause a world of problems that includes swelling lakes and overflowing streams – right into the apartments of many New York City residents.
Sewers can become clogged with debris causing water to back up into apartments just as new construction can reroute the flow of rainwater right into your apartment. There are all kinds of things that can cause your apartment to flood and you will need renters insurance to protect your possessions.
Who Needs Flood Insurance Most?
While there are always wild scenarios that could involve water coming into your apartment from a flooding situation, the odds are good that if you live in the penthouse (and it’s above say the third floor of your building) the likelihood of being affected by floods are much lower than someone living on the first floor. It could happen if a tsunami were to occur, which NY Magazine reports is possible – eventually. The last time it happened was half a million years ago, though, fortunately, if you have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program it should cover damage from a hurricane or tsunami.
People who have NYC apartments on the ground floor, or below ground apartments have the most urgent need of flood insurance. These are the apartments that are most vulnerable to the damage flooding can cause. Obviously, the higher you are above ground level, the safer you are, barring a tsunami scenario.
Should you get flood insurance for your NYC apartment? Anyone living in an apartment that has been designated as a high risk for flooding should definitely consider investing in flood insurance to protect your investments. Those who live in low-risk apartments might find that the peace of mind associated with having coverage is well worth the smaller price associated with these low-risk areas.
The key is to determine your risks compared to the potential reward of having flood insurance coverage. The more items you possess and the higher their value, the greater the need becomes. Just remember that the National Flood Insurance Program has strong limits when it comes to coverage. You may need supplemental flood insurance in order to have full protection for high value items.