Many metro Detroit homeowners will not receive compensation for damage caused by flooding.
The aftermath of last week’s flooding in metro Detroit, most of which was the cause of sewer backups, has left a number of homeowners in the area with flooded basements and, much to the dismay of many of these residents, they learned that most flood insurance does not cover damaged objects, such as furniture, fridges, computers, and televisions.
Some structures in the basement are covered and some are not.
According to FEMA guidelines, ordinary federally supported flood insurance does cover the foundation within a basement, such as the drywall, walls, and even some major appliances like air conditioners, furnaces, washers, dryers, and freezers. However, this coverage does not always extend to other appliances (ex. fridges), flooring/carpet, and personal belongings that may be in the basement, regardless of how the water got in.
Roger McDaid of McDaid & Associate Insurance, which is based in St. Clair, stated that “if you’ve got a finished basement and floodwater comes into the house and damages your stereos and TVs and furniture — flood insurance does not cover that.”
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That beings said, federally backed flood coverage will take care of ground floor damage, which includes objects that exist within living quarters. Insurance will pay policy holders the present-day value for non-structural items that were damaged by water. In other words, if it is a television that is 5 years old, the homeowner will receive whatever that TV is worth today in cash.
On the flip side of the coin, appliances that fall under the structural damage umbrella in flood insurance policies, such as air-conditioners and furnaces, qualify for a complete replacement and the age of this equipment and its present-day value does not matter.
Homeowners can pay more a year and upgrade their flood insurance to cover more.
Those who wish to obtain better coverage for their basement do have options, but it comes at a price. An additional policy could include objects in a basement such as flooring/carpet and televisions, which are not part of regular flood insurance policies. However, homeowners may have to pay out around $50 to $85 extra, every year, for this additional coverage, which is subject to certain terms and conditions, with claims often being evaluated on an individual basis.