Press Room

What You Need to Know About Insurance, Floods and Water Damage

September is National Preparedness Month and the Administration of Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to make sure you are ready for any emergency, such as flooding. As the Commissioner of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), I want to encourage District residents to understand their flood risks, prepare their homes and businesses and be sure they have sufficient insurance coverage.

Is Flooding Covered by Standard Insurance?

A standard renters or homeowners insurance policy does not protect you against a flood or certain other water-related events. For added protection, residents should purchase additional coverage such as a separate flood insurance policy and/or a Backup of Sewer, Drain & Sump Pump Endorsement.

A renters or homeowners flood insurance policy provides coverage for your home and contents while a Backup of Sewer, Drain & Sump Pump Endorsement provides coverage only for your personal belongings if damaged or destroyed by certain water-related events or causes.

If you are renting, remember, your landlord’s policy does not provide coverage for loss or damage to your personal property.

Where Can You Buy Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters and businesses through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can be purchased through an insurance agent, company or by calling NFIP’s toll-free number at 1-888-379-9531. The NFIP may also be contacted via email at floodsmart@fema.dhs.gov or floodsmart.gov. Additionally, flood insurance may be available directly from some private insurers.

What Steps Should You Take to Protect Yourself From a Flooding Event?
You can take several steps to protect yourself from a flooding event. They include:
Ensuring that, if you live in a single-family home, your property grade allows water to run away from the foundation of your home;
Installing flood vents;
Installing a backwater valve;
Installing a water alarm that lets you know if water is accumulating in your basement;
Developing an emergency plan;
Cleaning debris from gutters and spouts;
Using the United States Geological Survey Water Alert System
maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/wateralert to receive text messages when a stream in your area is rising to flood levels; and
Checking with your insurance agent or company to review your coverage and available options (regardless of whether you rent or own).

Important Tips
During a flood, please stay safe, follow District government procedures and contact my Department for additional assistance at 202-727-8000. You can also join ReadyDC to be aware, make a plan, build a kit and stay informed — learn more at ready.dc.gov.

Learn More
Learn how to protect your home and personal property from water damage or flooding due to extreme weather at one of DISB’s Flood and Water Damage Forums. Also, learn about available government resources and insurance products to help you mitigate flood risk. Register here for our September 23 forum: bit.ly/3jPa5Pd.

Contact Us
View tips for filing claims and a list of property insurers at disb.dc.gov/claims. If you are concerned that you are being treated unfairly by your insurer, reach out to the DISB with questions, concerns or complaints. Email us at floodcomplaints@dc.gov, call 202-442-7828 or visit disb.dc.gov/flood. We are here to help!

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