Catastrophe Center

Flood damage is the most common insurance claim in the United States. Your protection should be equally predictable.

Floodwaters can come from a variety of sources. Not all floodwaters are covered by all insurance policies, but whatever their source, it's important to understand what to do before, during and after a flood in order to protect yourself, your family and your home.

How to Prepare Before a Flood

The first step in preparing for a flood is to understand the terminology. A Flood Watch is an alert that flooding is possible but not yet observed in an area. A Flood Warning is when flooding is currently occurring or will occur soon, so there isn't much time to prepare. Use these warnings to gauge which steps you should follow in preparing for a flood:

  • Maintain an emergency supply kit that will sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period. This kit should include flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing and toiletries. Store your kit in a place commonly known to all family members. Replace and/or refresh items in your kit every six months.
  • Keep all important documents, such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers and insurance policy information in a safety deposit box or fireproof and waterproof box on an upper floor inside your home.
  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in your family knows where you will go. If you have pets, plan for their evacuation as well.
  • Elevate your furnace, water heater and electric panel if they are in areas susceptible to flooding.
  • Bring outdoor furniture inside.
  • Seal the walls in your basement with waterproof compounds.
  • If you live in a flood prone area, consider installing sump pumps and/or French drains.

What to Do During a Flood

Remain calm during a flood. The more you plan ahead, the easier it is to stay focused and safe during a flood. If possible, monitor NOAA Weather radio or local television and radio stations for updates and evacuation instructions. These steps may help protect you, your family and your home during a flood:

  • If possible and safe, move to higher ground.
  • Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Avoid driving unless necessary. If you must drive, avoid low-lying and flooded roadways.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves, if instructed and if it is safe to do so.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances, but do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Evacuate immediately if told to do so or if you think you are at risk of danger.

What to Do after a Flood

Once the flood is over, wait for local authorities to indicate that it's safe to return to your home or office before doing so. Avoid flooded or washed-out roads as they could collapse. These other tips may help you stay safe after a flood:

  • Avoid tap water until you learn that your community's water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters, as water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company or authorities.
  • Stay out of any building surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings. There may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater may contain sewage or other contaminants.
  • If you’re a Chubb policyholder and suffered damage from a flood, click here to begin the claims process.

This information is advisory in nature. No liability is assumed by reason of the information in this document.

Common Personal Insurance Coverages

Following a Flood
While some types of water-related losses are covered by Chubb's Masterpiece Homeowner policies, the peril of flood is excluded.

You may, however, have coverage if you purchased a Chubb Personal Flood Insurance or Chubb Excess Flood Insurance policy. In the event of a covered flood loss, we may pay the following (after the application of the deductible):

Replacement Cost for Damaged Property: In many cases, standard flood policies won't cover the full cost to repair or rebuild the insured home after a flood. Chubb may pay to replace property and possessions (up to the limit on the policy) without deduction for depreciation, in the event of a covered loss.

Rebuilding to Code: Chubb may include an amount of coverage for costs to comply with any law or ordinance requiring that the covered property be repaired, rebuilt, elevated, flood-proofed or demolished after a covered flood loss. Chubb may also cover any required upgrades like replacement of outdated electrical wiring or plumbing made necessary by a covered loss. Special limits apply.

Basement Property: "Real property" and contents located in your basement may be covered. Special limits apply.

Additional Living Expenses: Additional living expense coverage can pay for any reasonable increase in your normal living expenses including a temporary residence, meals and other expenses incurred if the home is uninhabitable after a covered flood loss. Special limits apply.

Other Coverage: Coverage for debris removal, condominium or homeowner association loss assessments, and business property may also be included.

Property Not Covered: While Chubb's flood policy provides some of the broadest flood coverage available, it does not cover some types of property, including the following:

  • boat houses;
  • exterior walks, walkways, decks, driveways, patios, and other surfaces, all whether protected by a roof or not
  • fences, retaining walls, seawalls, bulkheads, wharves, piers, bridges, and docks; and
  • hot tubs and spas that are not bathroom fixtures, and swimming pools and their equipment, such as heaters, filters, pumps, and pipes

Please review your policy for the complete details of the coverage contained in your policy.

Chubb Group of Insurance Companies ("Chubb") is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance subsidiaries of The Chubb Corporation. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at www.chubb.com. Chubb Personal Insurance (CPI) is the personal lines property and casualty strategic business unit of Chubb & Son, a division of Federal Insurance Company, as manager and/or agent for the insurers of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. This literature is descriptive only. Actual coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

Chubb, Box 1615, Warren, NJ 07061-1615.