Young woman looking into flood insurance
Insurance

Flood Insurance 101: Existing Water Issues and Lowering Your Premium

If you’re looking to buy a home in a flood zone, or adding flood insurance coverage to your current plan, then here’s what you need to know about pre-existing water conditions and lowering your premium.

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Can You Get Home Insurance If You Have Existing Water Issues or Foundation Problems?

If you already have water problems, you may still be eligible for insurance, or you may have to make repairs to qualify. Here’s how it works.

When you apply for insurance, the underwriting process will assess the risk of your property. Many aspects of your home will be considered, including its location and construction, and the results will determine your eligibility and insurance rates. 

Most new policies start by inspecting the structure. This includes assessing the level of maintenance, adherence to building codes, and any potential home issues that could lead to a large claim. 

Foundation problems are usually seen as high risk. If an inspector finds cracked concrete, uneven footings, wall cracks, or other signs of foundation damage, your home may be deemed uninsurable. From the insurer’s perspective, the house could be at risk for foundation-related damage, including broken pipes or electrical problems.

inspector looking at the foundation to determine flood insurance premium

We recommend learning about any foundation issues through an inspection with foundation experts, like those at Groundworks. This can help you prepare for insurers, learn about potential solutions, and secure your home.

Water problems are another big insurance risk. Inspectors will look at the exterior of your home for functioning gutters, downspouts, drainage systems, and yard maintenance. Inside, they’ll check plumbing and HVAC and will look for leaks, water damage, and mold or mildew. 

Read: Keeping Mold at Bay: Tips for Drying Out Your Home After Disaster Strikes

If an inspector finds problems, it doesn’t necessarily disqualify you for coverage, but you may face higher premiums or be required to make some repairs. If you’ve already taken steps to mitigate water problems, have those repair documents on hand to show the inspector. 

To qualify for flood insurance, some homes may be required to meet the current building codes and flood management regulations. In particular, this includes water management systems that protect the stability of your foundation, such as installing flood vents.

Can You Lower Your Insurance Premiums Through Waterproofing and Repairs?

Absolutely! Being proactive about repairs can help your insurance rates. According to FEMA, many flood insurance policies will reimburse homeowners up to $1,000 for flood mitigation efforts, creating a clear financial incentive to reduce flood risk. Plus, flood preparations can lower your flood insurance premiums, with some homeowners seeing a 15 percent reduction for the same level of protection. 

In other words, you could pay once for a home repair that would protect your home and its belongings, or you could pay higher insurance premiums every month for as long as you live there. 

Young woman looking into flood insurance

This is especially true for water mitigation. Water is very damaging and expensive, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that just one inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage to a home. 

Read: 10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for a Flood

Consult your agent for specific repairs that could affect your insurance policy. You may see the biggest benefit from a comprehensive waterproofing solution for your basement or crawl space that seals your home against several types of water threats. A sump pump with a battery backup can help you minimize damage if there is a flood. You may even be able to lower your insurance through a strategic drainage system. 

If your home has had flood damage, your insurance policies can be a helpful safety net. However, you could fare best if you’re able to avoid water problems altogether. 

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Callah is the Content Marketing Manager for Homes.com. A self-proclaimed bookworm and lover of the outdoors, Callah spends her time dreaming up content strategies, hosting friends and family in her home, and spending time with her husband Brandon, and Lab Lola in sunny Virginia Beach.

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