Breaking Down the Cost of a Flood

Last year, multiple devastating flooding events wreaked havoc on the United States and caused over $1 billion in damages to homes, businesses and public property. Soon after the year ended, flooding was named as the top natural hazard risk of 2017. A total of five individual weather contributed to the flooding that affected residents all across the country California, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and the territory of Puerto Rico were among the hardest hit areas.

One major takeaway from last year’s flood events is that major flooding is not limited to areas that are designated as flood risk zones. In fact, according to a report done by FEMA, each of the 50 states has been affected by some form of flooding in the past five years.

Just one inch of flooding can cause nearly $27,000 in damages to an average home, according to FEMA’s “The Big Cost of Flooding” report. While that amount of water doesn’t sound like it would cause that amount of damage, it’s a lot more serious than just some wet floors. Without home and flood insurance, homeowners are left to pay for damages on their own, and may have to wait for a period of time to receive a small grant from the government. Let’s break down how detrimental a flood can really be and how much it can cost to clean up the damage.

Standing Water

If water enters a building and then immediately subsides, the damage will naturally be less when compared to what happens in standing water. There are also three different water damage categories that are used to identify the type of standing water on a property and how much the repairs will cost.

  • Category 1 Water: Sometimes referred to as “white water,” this source of water does not pose a substantial threat to humans and is classified as “clean water.” For example, a broken water supply line leaking directly into a building, or a tub overflowing. In this case, the property owner may only need water extraction services (having a professional pump out the water and dry out the property) and a few repairs. Typically these services run somewhere around $5-$8 per square foot. Even on the low end, this would cost at least $12,500 for the average home, not including any necessary plumbing repairs.
  • Category 2 Water: Also called “grey water,” this source of water contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and can cause discomfort or sickness after consumption or exposure. For example, a sump pump failure or water discharged from a dishwasher or washing machine. If the water can be extracted quickly, the property owner may not need to replace a large amount of personal items, furniture or appliances, but they will likely need a deep cleaning to remove contaminants.
  • Category 3 Water: Known as “black water,” this source water contains extremely unsanitary and harmful agents such as bacteria and fungi, which can cause severe discomfort and sickness. Examples of this category are water sources from sewage, storm surges, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Flooding from any major weather event is usually Category 3 Water.

Additionally, Category 2 Water that remains stagnant within a building and is not promptly removed may be reclassified as Category 3 Water. After the initial water extraction is done, any appliance, piece of furniture or personal item that touches the ground most likely needs to be replaced following Category 3 Water flooding. Additionally, the bottom portion of the walls, the flooring and parts of the electrical system usually need to be replaced as well.

About Wilmington Insurance Agency

Wilmington Insurance Agency delivers comprehensive coastal property solutions. We are a Managing General Agency and provide independent insurance agents with property and liability insurance solutions for residents and businesses primarily in Maryland and Virginia. We work alongside our sister company, Wilmington Insurance Company, established in 1996 and providing Property & Casualty commercial lines business, homeowners, and condominium insurance in the state of Delaware. To learn more about how we can help you to expand your book of business in the coastal market, contact us at (302) 231-2800.