A lot of renters assume that they do not have to worry about flooding, but that can be a costly misconception. Renters might think that they are not at risk of flood or that their landlord would have to pay for all damages and repairs caused by a flood, but that’s not always the case. Even as a renter, you should be proactive against potential flooding to protect your belongings because it happens more often than you might think. This article is intended for renters to better understand your risk for flood and what you need to do to prepare against potential flooding in your home.

If you’re not sure what flood insurance is or what it covers, learn more with our flood insurance resource center

Evaluate your risk of flood

Everyone is susceptible to flood, even if you don’t live on the beach, near a lake, or by a river. One good way to evaluate your risk is to ask for information from those more acquainted with the area, who may have dealt with flood risk zoning before. You should talk to your landlord and insurance provider to evaluate your personal risk to assist you in obtaining appropriate coverage in the event of a flood-related loss.

Some questions you’ll want to research:

  • Does your neighborhood experience heavy rains? If so, what time of year are you most prone to these heavy rains? What kind of precautions should you take during these times?
  • Does your insurance provider have flooding maps? Which “zone” are you in?
  • Is your rental home or apartment building prone to leaks?
  • Have previous tenants had flooding issues? If so, what is the reason and how was it dealt with?
  • How does your landlord handle flood? (More on this below)

Know the protocol for a flood emergency

It’s a good idea to chat with your landlord about how to handle flood emergencies in your rented home. A few questions to consider are: Will the landlord call in their repairman, or will you have to find someone yourself? If so, will your landlord reimburse you? Will you need to relocate if another part of the building has a flood? How will the landlord handle water removal and prevent mold growth? What is the evacuation plan? What safety protocols do they already have in place?

It’s important to note not all flood insurance providers offer coverage for additional living costs, so you need to know your available options for temporary living in the event of a flood.

It’s best to know these sorts of processes before an emergency, so you’re not blindsided or confused if and when the time comes. Chances are that you’re not the only one in the building or neighborhood dealing with water damage when a flood occurs, so calling up your landlord at that point will probably result in unanswered phone calls. Be prepared for an emergency, so you’re not left wading in the water.

Know your responsibilities as a tenant

Although your landlord will likely have to cover any real property or structural damage resulting from a flood, you are still responsible for your own personal belongings. The landlord will typically be responsible for structural repairs such as, walls, doors, carpets, and permanent fixtures, but they will not cover any of your belongings or any upgrades you personally made to the unit. That means you will need to purchase a flood insurance policy to help protect your furniture, electronics, clothing, and other belongings from damage caused by a flood.

You should also ask your landlord for a copy of their flood insurance policy to get a better idea of what they do and don’t have coverage for. You may also want to ask about the ways your landlord works to prevent floods and flood-related damage, like cleaning drains, raising electrical outlets and switches, draining water away from the building, checking sewer lines, etc. This can help you better understand what you need your personal property coverage to look like in your flood policy.

Here are some tips to keep your belongings and family safe in the case of a flood:

  • Keep your important documents in a waterproof and fire-proof box.
  • Store documents and valuables at least 12 inches off the floor and away from windows and external doors.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand with food, toiletries, water, non-perishable food, cash, flashlights, and important documents including your insurance policy information.
  • Install a water sensor (or talk to your landlord about this) to detect any unwanted water in the unit.

Get flood insurance

Most importantly, get flood insurance! Too many folks think that flood insurance is only for homeowners—but it’s not! Flood is not covered under standard renters insurance, so purchasing a separate flood insurance policy is still a must-have for renters. As mentioned, your landlord’s flood policy only covers damage to the structure of the home—not any of the belongings that you own inside of it.

All your personal belongings, like your furniture, rugs, clothing, electronics, décor, and valuables are your responsibility. If these were ruined in a flood, you would be financially responsible to replace everything you own. Flood insurance helps cover the cost to repair or replace these items, so you can get back to living your life smoothly after a flooding incident.

Flood insurance is typically low cost for most renters because you are only covering your personal belongings and not the structure of the home. With typically lower costs and sufficient coverage, flood insurance is essential for renters, no matter where you live.

Best yet, getting flood insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. With our online quote tool, you can get a flood insurance quote for your rental – all within minutes. Check out our online quote tool now to get started.