How Does the NFIP Define A Flood?

Do you live in a coastal community?

Many people move to the Tri-State area because they want to live by the water. When moving to the coast, it sometimes creates unexpected new insurance concerns. Not only do many residents have to purchase homeowner’s insurance, but they need to purchase flood insurance. A homeowner’s insurance policy will exclude any flood-related claims.

At Daigle & Travers Insurance, we pride ourselves on educating our clients on their insurance needs. Below is information from the National Flood Insurance Program, this data will help you as a consumer understand what is and isn’t covered on a standard NFIP Flood Insurance Policy. Luckily, in Connecticut and New York, there are now Private Flood Insurance options that may better suit your needs. Daigle and Travers Insurance Agency represents 5 private flood insurance carriers.

How Does the NFIP Define a Flood?

Your NFIP food insurance policy covers direct physical losses caused by a flood. In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties. For example, damage caused by a sewer backup is covered if the backup is a direct result of flooding. If the sewer backup is not caused directly by flooding, the damage is not covered.

Examples of Flooding

  1. Overflow: During a tropical storm or hurricane, a storm surge can cause an overflow of inland or tidal waters.
  2. Runoff: When an area without sufficient drainage receives heavy rainfall in a short period of time.
  3. Mudflow: Following a wildfire, heavy or sustained rainfall accumulates on the ground and forms a river of mud down a hillside.
  4. Erosion: Along lakes, severe storms can produce waves and cause shoreline erosion.


What Does My Flood Insurance Cover?

Building Coverage

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • The electrical and plumbing systems
  • Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
  • Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
  • Window blinds
  • Debris removal

Areas Below Lowest Elevated Floor

  • Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases attached to the building
  • Central air conditioner
  • Cisterns and the water in them
  • Electrical outlets, switches, and circuit-breaker boxes
  • Fuel tanks and the fuel in them, solar energy equipment, and well water tanks and pumps
  • Furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps, and sump pumps

The following items are covered in basements only:

  • Drywall for walls and ceilings
  • Non-flammable insulation


What is covered for contents on a flood insurance policy? Contents Coverage (must be purchased separately)

  • Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
  • Curtains
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
  • Carpets not included in building coverage
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Food freezers and the food in them
  • Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)


What is covered for contents if the contents in located below a positively elevated floor?

  • Washers and dryers
  • Food freezers and the food in them (but not refrigerators)
  • Portable and window air conditioners

What is the area below the lowest elevated floor?

These areas include basements, crawlspaces under an elevated building, enclosed areas beneath buildings elevated on full-story foundation walls (sometimes referred to as “walkout basements”), and enclosed areas under other types of elevated buildings.

Coverage tip: If you keep a couch, computer, and television in your basement and the basement floods, your flood policy does not provide any coverage for those items. Those same items would be covered if above the lowest elevated floor.


What Is Not Covered by My Flood Insurance?

Examples of uncovered or excluded property

  • Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner.
  • Living expenses such as temporary housing.
  • Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts.
  • Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates.
  • Property and belongings outside of a building such as trees, plants, shrubs, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools.
  • Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of the insured property.
  • Any damage caused by seepage, or any sub-surface water flow (a condition of flow of water beneath the earth’s surface).

Before and After a Flood

Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. That’s why it’s important to take steps before, during, and after a flood to mitigate losses.

Take Steps to Reduce Your Losses

Your food insurance policy will pay up to $1,000 for loss avoidance measures, like sandbags, supplies, and labor to assist in protecting your property from the threat of food. Visit to learn more about protecting your home and belongings before a food event.

Preparing to Start a Claim

To start a claim, report your loss immediately to your insurance agent or insurance company and ask them about advance payments. Then prepare for your food adjuster by doing the following:

  1. Keep receipts in a safe, dry location to verify losses.
  2. Separate damaged and undamaged property.
  3. Take pictures of damaged property before disposing of it.


Let Daigle & Travers Insurance review your coverage. We have three convenient locations in Connecticut: Wilton, Darien, and Westport. One of our many experienced insurance professionals will be able to review your policies. We can be reached at 203-655-6974 or at