Homeowners across the country are faced with a lot of insurance policies needed to sustain their property and homes. This ranges from your standard homeowners' insurance policy to other damage insurances. 

Water Backup Insurance: Do I Really Need a Flood Insurance?

Today, we want to address one of the most common questions with insurance that homeowners usually ask. Does water backup insurance cover flooding?

What is Water Backup?

First thing's first, we have to address the actual definition of what a water backup is. Generally, water backup pertains to the incident(s) when something blocks or stops the natural flow of drains from the pipes that exit your home. This could be sewer backups that are clogged due to debris, overflow of rainwater, or when a sump pump fails so it forces water into your home.

Water Backup Insurance: Do I Really Need a Flood Insurance?

Basically, the water that's coming from your home but failed to get out. This area covers things like septic systems, sump pumps, and/or sewer systems. This time of damage actually has coverage from your insurance however do you still need flood insurance when you're already covered for water backup coverage?

Is Flood Insurance Necessary?

To understand the difference between these two coverages, we first need to go back and understand what floods actually are. Generally, flooding is any incident where surface water from outside of your home inundates your property. This may be due to a storm, continuous heavy rainfall, or coastal flooding.

You might say that they should be covered within a single policy since they are both water damages to your property or home. However, it's important to keep in mind that these two things are different coverages.

Water Backup Insurance: Do I Really Need a Flood Insurance?

Even if you already have water backup coverage, unfortunately, this won't really get you covered if we're talking about flood damage. This also means that flood insurance won't cover you for water backup since most insurance companies in the industry will be considering that "Rule of Two".

The rule of two on flooding, according to FEMA, states that surface water will only be considered a "flood" if it impacts at least two acres of normally dry land or two properties within the same area. Considering that water backup has a smaller scale which only impacts a single homeowner, it doesn't really fall into the coverage of flood.

Now, let's talk about your flood insurance options.

Flood Insurance Options


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is purely managed by the federal government since this is FEMA's answer to flood insurance. An NFIP flood policy can get you flood coverage on both your dwelling and the contents within it.

When we say dwelling, this simply pertains to either the residential property or commercial building that you're trying to insure with NFIP and FEMA; contents will be more about the personal property and items you have inside the insured building.

There is a coverage limit when it comes to federal flood policies. Flood damage to buildings will be covered to a maximum of $250,000 for residential policies and can only go up to $500,000 maximum if it's for a commercial property. Regardless of the type of property you have written, you can expect to get a $100,000 maximum contents coverage from an NFIP policy.

READ: National Flood Insurance Program Risk Rating 2.0 Update

There's also what's called the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. This is a $30,000 additional coverage for your property in order to make sure that there are flood mitigation efforts made on the property according to the federal government's standards.

Generally, this can include sandbagging your property, installing floodproofing walls, raising your lowest floor from the base flood elevation levels, and putting flood openings. The labor that goes into making these mitigation efforts happen will also be covered under the ICC.

Water Backup Insurance: Do I Really Need a Flood Insurance?

There are also perks with your participating community. A participating community gets access to federal flood insurance and disaster assistance by meeting their standards on flood mitigation and disaster preparedness. The efforts put in by a community won't be unnoticed as this can help on raising your Community Rating System (CRS) score.

The CRS measures and rewards the overall flood mitigation efforts done by the community according to FEMA's standards on floodplain management. Simply put, the higher your CRS score is, the bigger the flood insurance discount you'll get from FEMA and the NFIP.

You can start enjoying your NFIP policy after a 30-day waiting period from the flood insurance purchase.

The Private Flood

If the federal flood insurance option doesn't really work for you then you can manage this new floodplain mapping through the private flood insurance market. It's important to note that this market will solely be managed and provided by private insurance companies which generally means that the red tapes FEMA and NFIP has to go through won't be there.

The first thing you'll immediately see with the private flood market is that there are significantly shorter waiting periods for your flood policy. Once you have everything settled and paid for, the wait period for the private flood carriers will follow a much shorter timeframe compared to NFIP. A private flood insurance policy can take effect on 7 or up to 14 days maximum. 

Another good thing coming out of private flood insurance is that there are no coverage limits. This means that you won't really need to stress over how to get covered for a $500,000 home since it will be fully covered by your policy. This is the same with contents coverage and you'll also get additional coverages like replacement costsadditional living expenses, and loss of use.

Fair warning, it's a known issue in the private insurance market in general that they will do moratoriums when there are risks that are too high for their comforts.

This simply means that they will either put a stop or take a break from providing flood insurance policies to a certain area that has higher risks. There's also a chance that you might not get to buy flood insurance from them once they decide to non-renew your policy.

What Really Matters

Understanding your insurance coverage from a homeowners insurance policy, renters insurance policy, water backup insurance, and flood insurance is the key to ensuring that you bounce back from any possible damages due to natural disasters or lack of maintenance. You want to get yourself a good insurance agent who can help you explain these coverages and how they differ.

If you have any questions about flood insurance, insurance coverages, or anything related to floods, click the link below to access our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your questions on flood insurance and beyond.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property long-term. 


Does flood insurance cover my property or not?

It's a question we get everyday from property owners.

Water damage is probably one of the top questions we get asked about. There are lots of different water damage scenarios. Especially when it comes to water back up.

So what is water back up?


This is water that backs up through its pipes. This could be water backing up into your home, this could be water backing up in the streets as a result of clogged drains.

Today we want to talk about storm water runoff backup and how flood insurance covers it.

Before we get into water back up let's remember when flood insurance pays out.

Generally one of two situations has to be met.

  1. 2 properties or more inundated with water
  2. 2 acres or more inundated with water

There are many cities across the country that have faced challenges of storm water runoff water back up causing problems.

Let's look at what happened in German town Tennessee in 2019. The area that flooded was not an area that generally had much concern for flooding especially as a result of storm water run off. However a 500 year flood changed that in 2019 and months later the residents faced challenges of flooding.

According to WREG.com residents feel that drains were to blame for the flood waters. While public officials state the drains work fine residents complain they are not big enough.

Many of these people had water in their homes like they never have before.

So would flood insurance cover this storm water runoff backup?

According to WREG more than $7 million of damage involving more than 200 homes. This meets the National Flood Insurance Program definition of flood insurance.

Now that doesn't mean it would be covered in every situation. We talk to property owners every day where their property is the only property impacted.

As a result they had no flood insurance coverage available.

It's important to understand your flood insurance policy coverages. The National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance companies could cover things differently. So make sure to read through your policy jacket and if you have questions click here.

Also if you want to learn more about flood insurance then make sure to check out our podcast or our YouTube channel where we post daily flood education videos.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance and mitigating your property long term.

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