Your daily Letter to the Columnist — July 18, 2013
I found your article on the plight of flood victims and insurance quite interesting. When I bought my house six years ago the insurance agent specifically mentioned that sewage back-up and other flooding would be covered only if we paid extra for that coverage. Because my house is on a hill with little likelihood of flooding or sewer back-up, I declined the coverage. But I did add earthquake insurance.
As you said, people should be more aware of exactly what their risks are and what coverage they are paying for, and what is not covered, and particularly what is periodically excluded in those small print inserts sent with the insurance bill each year. If you have an insurance agent, make him earn his commission by having a yearly review of your policy. Most agents simply collect and forget.
An addition you could have put at the end of your article is an internet link to the American Red Cross guidelines on flood remediation. Primarily, carpet and upholstered furniture, and anything else into which water penetrated should be removed from the home as quickly as possible. Also, drywall should be removed at least two feet above the highest point the water got, even by capillary action above the actual water line. Wood paneling should be treated the same. Failure to do this in a timely manner might result in an unlivable house. Many insurance companies consider the failure of homeowners to take timely action to be negligence and reduce payments accordingly.