Flood insurance is highly recommended. Remember, even if the last storm or flood missed you or you have done something to protect your home from water, the next flood could be worse. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover a property for flood damage.

The City of Calumet City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Local insurance agents can sell a flood insurance policy under rules and rates set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Any agent can sell a policy and all agents must charge the same rates. See also FEMA’s Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program.

Any house can be covered by a flood insurance policy. Detached garages and accessory buildings are covered under the policy for the lot’s main building. Separate coverage can be obtained for the building’s structure and for its contents (except for money, valuable papers, and the like). The structure generally includes everything that stays with a house when it is sold, including the furnace, cabinets, built-in appliances, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

There is no coverage for things outside the house, like the driveway and landscaping. Renters can buy contents coverage, even if the owner does not buy structural coverage on the building.

Some people have purchased flood insurance because the bank required it when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that happens in Calumet City, there is usually more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure. Don’t wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.

Several insurance companies have sump pump failure or sewer backup coverage that can be added to a homeowner’s insurance policy. Each company has different amounts of coverage, exclusions, deductibles, and arrangements. Most are riders that cost extra. Most exclude damage from surface flooding that would be covered by an NFIP policy. The cost varies from nothing to up to about $75 for a rider on your homeowner’s insurance premium. The latest information on flood insurance can be obtained from FEMA at: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/index.jsp

Note for insurance agents: The Department of Inspectional Services has copies of FEMA Elevation Certificates on buildings built in the floodplain since 1998. To see if an elevation certificate is available for a particular property, contact us at 891-8120.