LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Many homeowners don't realize it until it's too late. Owning a simple homeowners insurance policy will do nothing to protect residential properties from floods, like those taking place along the Mississippi River.
Tom Clarke, Jr. with Clarke Insurance in Lake Charles, said many people often mistake having homeowner's insurance as all they need to protect their homes from flooding, because homeowner policies often include water damage coverage.
"Homeowners policies, most of them are very broad and cover many things, however flooding, rising waters, overflowing rivers, whether wind driven or not, is not covered under a standard homeowners policy," said Clarke. "So, if we did have a problem, if the river overflowed and flooded your home, your homeowner's company would not pay for it."
Clarke said homeowners insurance policies cover only water damage that originates inside the home, not outside. For example, if a hot water tank were to burst and flood the inside of a house, a homeowners policy would most likely cover it. However, if the home were to flood because of rising waters from a river, it would not be covered under a standard homeowners policy.
Clarke recommends residents concerned about flooding, purchase flood insurance.
It's estimated 20% of Americans live in an area at risk for flooding. Residents living in high risk areas are required to carry flood insurance. According to FEMA, flood insurance covers two types of property: building and possessions.
Clarke recommends anyone with questions about their homeowners or flood insurance to contact their insurance agents, who will be able to provide them with specific information about their policy.
To learn more about flood insurance, visit the official site of the National Insurance Program.