Fireman’s Fund Offers Surface and Flood Endorsement in Washington

June 19, 2009

Novato, Calif.-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. is now offering a Surface Water and Flood endorsement to its Prestige Home Premier policyholders in Washington.

Intense storms over the Pacific Ocean bring heavy rains to Washington each winter and spring. Weather conditions indicate that the risk of damage from surface water and flood is becoming more prevalent in even low to moderate flood zones, the company said.

“There are surface water and flood risks in every region, terrain and climate,” said Don Soss, vice president of Fireman’s Fund Personal Insurance. “In fact, flood risks occur in all 50 states and with annual snow and rainfalls increasing, the threat of water damage is increasing as well. Last year ‘The Great Coastal Gale’ flooded inland Washington and its coast.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls flood the No. 1 natural hazard occurring in all 50 states. And according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a home is at greater risk for flood than fire. A typical home has a 26 percent chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a nine percent chance of fire. Washington residents may face an even greater risk of flooding this year due to wildfires. The charred ground where vegetation has burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater.

According to the company, flood insurance is rarely available anywhere in Washington except through the NFIP, which has limits of $250,000 on dwellings and $100,000 for personal property. And although most homeowners’ policies provide some coverage for backup of sewers and drains, surface water and flood is specifically excluded. The Fireman’s Fund coverage option contains no such limits and can go as high as the dwelling and contents limits of the Prestige Home Premier policy.

Coverage also includes $100,000 for flood damage to any combination of the following:

  • Underground structures and equipment, such as wells and septic tanks;
  • Walkways, decks, driveways and patios;
  • Fences, retaining walls, seawalls, piers, bridges and docks;
  • Hot tubs, spas and swimming pools.

The Surface Water/Flood endorsement has no sublimits for real or personal property in a basement. The policy also provides coverage for needs such as upgrades required by law or ordinance. And, it includes coverage for possessions such as jewelry, collectibles and business property. If displaced from a home as a result of a covered surface water/flood loss, customers can apply the Unlimited Loss of Use coverage of up to one year if the homeowner must rebuild elsewhere, the company said.

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