Should You Get Flood Insurance for Your Apartment?

Many renters don’t consider getting flood insurance because they think their renters insurance will cover them. This mistake means that flood damage from burst water mains or storms often leaves renters unprotected and paying out of pocket for repairs. Before you dismiss flood insurance, learn a little more about how it can give you necessary peace of mind.

Understanding Flood Damage

Not all water damage is the same, and for insurance purposes, flood damage has a very specific definition. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a flood affects at least two properties, and is caused by an overflow of naturally-occurring water, like high tides or rain.


It doesn’t cover smaller mishaps. For instance, if your water washing machine leaks and floods your apartment, this is not considered flood damage. It may be covered by your renters insurance if you have water backup coverage, which protects you in the event of water damage from a drain or sewer.


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.

Queens, NY in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy.

Even during storms, like hurricanes, renters insurance can cover water damage to your apartment if a tree smashes into the window, but it won’t cover damage caused by the rivers overflowing. According to Newsday, 100,000 homes in Long Island had flood damage after Hurricane Sandy. It’s situations like that where flood insurance is crucial.

What Causes Flooding?

While it’s true that storms, like Hurricane Sandy, are major contenders for causing flood damage, they aren’t the only reasons you might need flood insurance. 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 can blow waters from the rivers into street-level apartments and basements. Then in spring, snowmelt overflow lakes and rivers — flowing right into your apartment.

Besides these natural causes, some flood damage is manmade. New York is an old city, where water mains break, sewers get clogged and back up, and new construction reroutes flowing water, all of which can cause extensive damage to your apartment.

Should You Get Flood Insurance?

People who have street- or basement-level apartments should definitely consider flood insurance. These are the apartments that are most vulnerable to the damage flooding can cause.

If you live close to the water, you should also look into flood insurance, as any high tides caused by storms can spell serious damage. Those who live in high-risk areas may also need supplemental flood insurance, since the National Flood Insurance Program can restrict coverage.

Even if you don’t think your apartment is at a high risk for flooding, a flood insurance policy can offer you peace of mind if the worst happens. We’re happy to talk to your unique situation. 


Renters Insurance CTA

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