Do You Need Flood Insurance in an Apartment?

Posted on Feb 05, 2016

Flood Insurance

Keeping your home protected is one of your top priorities. This is just as true for renters as it is for homeowners. While you can try to prevent damage or theft from impacting your home or apartment, there is one thing that you can’t prevent: the weather.

If you are a renter, you may be wondering if flood insurance makes sense. The truth is, renters can benefit from flood insurance just as much as homeowners can.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about flood insurance if you live in an apartment.

Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover Flood Damage

Although renters insurance covers water damage to your personal property caused by a plumbing situation, it does not cover damage that is caused by a flood due to weather. For that reason, it is important that you keep your belongings protected with flood insurance.

For instance, while your renter’s policy would cover the cost of any damage to your personal property that results from a pipe that burst in your apartment, it will not cover any damage that is caused as a result of a flood that is caused by rain or tidal surges. Only flood insurance will cover the damage that is caused by a weather-related flood.

Live in a High Risk Flooding Area? Flood Insurance is Recommended

New Jersey flood insurance is highly recommended if your apartment is located in an area that is very susceptible to flooding.  It might only be a matter of time until your apartment is flooded if the area you live in is prone to flooding. Even though flood insurance isn’t required for renters, anyone can suffer a loss as a result of flooding.

If you live on the ground floor (or basement) of an apartment building, you are even more susceptible to rising waters from a nearby flooded river, a heavy storm, or a tidal wave.  A standard flood insurance policy covers the contents of your apartment.

How Flood Insurance Premiums are Calculated

If you live in a moderate-to-low risk area, you are eligible for a Preferred Risk Policy for which the premiums are low priced. If you don’t qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy, a standard-rated policy is still available.

With the standard-rated policy, there are several factors that are taken into consideration when an insurance agency determines the rate of your premium. These factors include:

  • The occupancy of the building
  • The year that the building was constructed
  • How many floors are within the building
  • The location of the contents (what floor you live on)
  • The risk of flooding in the area (or the flood zone)
  • With respect to the elevation requirement on the flood map, the location of the lowest floor (this is required in new buildings only)
  • The amount of coverage you choose, as well as the deductible you choose

What Does the Policy Cover?

  • Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
  • Curtains
  • 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)

Preventing Damage

While flood insurance is certainly a great way to protect your apartment from flood damage, there are other things that you can do to prevent damage, as long as your landlord is on board:

  • Get a sump pump with a battery backup system
  • Make sure that all drains, gutters, and downspouts are free of debris
  • Make sure that the downspouts are pointed away from the building
  • Develop an emergency plan. Discuss the plan with your family and make sure that you have everything that you would need in the event of a flood prepared and within easy reach. This would include important documents, food, clothing, photos, etc.

The bottom line is that protecting yourself against a flood should be a top priority, whether you own your home or you rent it.

To learn more about flood insurance or renters insurance, or to get a review of your existing policy, please contact Otterstedt Insurance Agency at 201-227-1800 today. Don’t wait to call, since typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before the policy goes into effect.

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