"We urge consumers to think about flood insurance before events like the one two weeks ago happen," said Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson. "They should consult with their insurance agent to determine if they need this type of insurance now because there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective after purchase."
Most standard homeowner and business owner insurance policies exclude damage to property from flooding. If you are a consumer who has already been affected by flooding or mud related damage you should consider filing a claim with their home and property insurer – even if you do not have flood or earthquake insurance. If an area is declared a major federal disaster area, this proof of claim and its denial may be required to determine whether a consumer is eligibility for federal aid.
It is also important to know what is covered and what is not covered by a flood insurance policy. A typical flood insurance policy covers "water damage": (1) flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, tsunami, seiche, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, and all whether driven by the wind or not; (2) water or sewage from outside the residence premises plumbing system that enters through sewers or drains, or water which enters into and overflows from within a sump pump.
What is not covered in a flood insurance policy are damages from mudslides or rockslides. Damage from mudslides, rockslides, and other "earth movements" are only covered under an earthquake insurance policy or endorsement. Earth movement includes but is not limited to
earthquake, landslide, mudflow, mudslide, sinkhole, subsidence, erosion or movement resulting from improper compaction, site selection or any other external forces.
Coverage for damage from floods is available via a flood insurance policy issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA: www.Floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531. Consumers can also call their insurance agent, as agents can facilitate with the application for obtaining a NFIP flood insurance policy. Be aware that there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy goes into effect after you purchase it. Adding an earthquake endorsement to your home policy will ensure coverage for any damage caused by "earth movement" including mudslides.
For more information consumers can obtain flood, home and earthquake insurance guides by visiting the Division of Insurance website at www.doi.nv.gov. Page 10 of the Flood Guide provides a general comparison of what is covered and what is NOT covered for water-related damage in a standard home insurance policy and a flood insurance policy.