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Flood Insurance Exclusions: What’s Typically Not Covered

Floods can cause significant damage to homes and properties, leading to costly repairs and financial burdens. To protect against these risks, many homeowners opt for flood insurance. However, it is important to understand that flood insurance policies often come with exclusions, which means that certain types of damage may not be covered. In this article, we will explore some of the common flood insurance exclusions and what they typically do not cover.

1. Gradual Damage

One of the key exclusions in most flood insurance policies is gradual damage. This refers to damage that occurs over time due to a slow and continuous process, rather than a sudden and accidental event. Examples of gradual damage include seepage of water through cracks in the foundation, erosion of soil, or deterioration of building materials.

While flood insurance covers damage caused by a sudden and unexpected flood, it does not typically cover the cost of repairing or replacing items that have been gradually damaged over time. This exclusion is important to note, as it means that homeowners may be responsible for addressing and mitigating any gradual damage that occurs to their property.

2. Damage to Landscaping and Outdoor Property

Another common exclusion in flood insurance policies is damage to landscaping and outdoor property. While flood insurance may cover damage to the structure of a home and its contents, it often does not extend to items such as trees, plants, fences, or outdoor furniture.

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For example, if a flood causes a tree to fall and damage a homeowner’s fence, the cost of repairing or replacing the fence may not be covered by the flood insurance policy. Similarly, damage to outdoor furniture or other items in the yard may not be eligible for reimbursement.

3. Damage to Basements and Below-Ground Areas

Basements and below-ground areas are particularly vulnerable to flooding, but they are also areas that may be excluded from coverage in flood insurance policies. This is because these areas are often considered to be at a higher risk of flooding and may require additional coverage or a separate policy.

While some flood insurance policies may offer limited coverage for basements and below-ground areas, it is important to review the policy carefully to understand the extent of coverage. In many cases, homeowners may need to purchase additional coverage or a separate policy specifically for these areas.

4. Damage from Sewer Backup

Many homeowners assume that flood insurance will cover damage caused by sewer backup, but this is often not the case. Sewer backup occurs when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed and sewage flows back into a home or property. This can cause significant damage and pose health risks.

While some insurance policies may offer coverage for sewer backup as an add-on or separate endorsement, it is not typically included in standard flood insurance policies. Homeowners who are concerned about the risk of sewer backup should consider adding this coverage to their policy or exploring separate insurance options.

5. Damage to Vehicles

Flood insurance policies generally do not cover damage to vehicles caused by flooding. If a homeowner’s car is damaged or destroyed in a flood, they would need to rely on their auto insurance policy to cover the cost of repairs or replacement.

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It is important for homeowners to have comprehensive auto insurance coverage that includes protection against flood damage. This coverage can help mitigate the financial impact of flood-related vehicle damage.


While flood insurance provides valuable protection against the financial risks of flooding, it is essential for homeowners to understand the exclusions and limitations of their policies. By being aware of what is typically not covered, homeowners can take steps to mitigate these risks and ensure they have the appropriate coverage in place.

Some key takeaways from this article include:

  • Gradual damage, such as seepage or erosion, is often not covered by flood insurance.
  • Damage to landscaping and outdoor property may be excluded from coverage.
  • Basements and below-ground areas may require additional coverage or a separate policy.
  • Sewer backup damage is typically not covered by standard flood insurance.
  • Flood insurance does not cover damage to vehicles.

By understanding these exclusions and considering additional coverage options, homeowners can make informed decisions to protect their homes and properties from the financial impact of flooding.

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