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Why is Water Back-Up Different than Flood?


Why is Water Back-Up Different than Flood?

Published Thursday, April 1, 2021


Why is insurance so confusing??  All these fine distinctions make it seem like the insurance carrier is just trying to get out of paying a claim! 

If you feel that way, then you’ll want to read this quick article on the difference between water back-up and flood insurance. 

Flood insurance

By definition, floods come from a rapid accumulation of rain or an overflow of water from a lake, river, or creek.  A flood can cause water to back-up into your basement or crawl, so it’s a fine distinction.   If you’re not sure whether you are experiencing a flood or just a water back-up, ask yourself this question:  What is the source of the water?   If the water’s source is caused from rapid rainfall, it’s likely a flood.  (Normal rainfall is not considered a flood.)  Anything else, it’s likely a water back-up.


Water back-up

Water back-up is any sort of back-up into your basement or crawl other than from a flood.   Examples of things that cause water to back-up include: 

  • The street sewer backed up
  • A clogged storm pipe
  • Your sump-pump failed

 None of these are considered flood, so flood insurance wouldn’t apply.


Am I covered?

So, if you truly have a water back-up loss, is there coverage under your home insurance?  The answer is, It depends.

Coverage for water backing up into your basement or crawl is an optional endorsement.  This means that it’s not an automatic coverage inside your home policy.   You pay an additional premium for it, and a separate limit of coverage typically applies. 

If you’re not sure whether you have flood insurance or water back-up coverage, contact us!  We’ll look at your policy and let you know.  We can also give you pricing on the coverage, if you’re curious.

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