Beach houses are near the beach for a reason—you want to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. It’s when surf becomes a problem, however, that you have reason to be concerned about your property’s security. That’s why many beach house owners must carry flood insurance.
As effective as coverage can be, however, you must recognize that your policy won’t cover everything. So, it’s important to work with your insurance agent to choose the right policy before disaster strikes.
Insuring Beach Houses
A beach house might be your full-time home or a vacation residence. It might occupy a waterfront lot, or sit further inland. Regardless, these homes are typically in areas that are low-lying, flat and near water, most properties face a clear danger of flooding. Storm surges, flash flooding or even flooded sewer systems to overflow into the home and cause significant property damage.
You will need to have the home insured with homeowners insurance. However, most homeowners’ policies exclude coverage from flooding if that flooding is caused by a weather occurrence, such as severe storms or hurricanes. So, if a storm surge beckons, you may not have coverage if you don’t have flood insurance.
Flood insurance typically comes from a government system called the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Many beach house owners must buy these policies to satisfy requirements of mortgage lenders.
NFIP policies are tightly regulated. They will provide a maximum of $250,000 for property damage and $100,000 for possessions lost in flooding. If your beach house is worth more than these limits, which many are, you might also be able to buy a private flood insurance policy that will act as excess coverage on top of your NFIP policy.
Also, like most property insurance, flood policies will have exclusions for certain types of damage. They won’t apply to certain losses, even if a qualifying flood causes the damage.
When Coverage Won’t Apply
There are various cases when your flood insurance won’t cover property damage:
- Burst pipes that flood the home often have coverage under homeowners insurance.
- Policies will include deductibles, and if your property damage is less than the deductible cost, the policy won’t pay.
- Certain policies won’t cover damage to certain items, usually including landscaping and outdoor items, HVAC components or underground equipment.
- Coverage may pay a lower limit for outbuildings or storage sheds.
- Personal possessions may only be covered for their actual cash value, which is their market value at the time of the flood. This is not the same as the cost of a new item.
Also, disclose to your agent if you will use your beach house as a full-time or part-time home. If your dwelling will be unoccupied for a period of time, then the insurance company will need to know so they can make sure the policy always remains active.
Also Read: The Right Flood Insurance for Beach Houses