Myths & Facts of Flood Insurance

Standard Homeowners' Insurance

  • Myth No. 1: My standard homeowners' insurance will cover me if my house is damaged or destroyed in a flood.
  • Fact No. 1: Homeowners' insurance does not cover flood damage. Federal flood insurance, purchased through your insurance agent or company, is the only guaranteed flood insurance available for your home.

Disaster Aid Reimbursement

  • Myth No. 2: Federal disaster aid, available during and after a flood, will reimburse me for losses. Therefore, I don't need to buy flood insurance for my home and belongings.
  • Fact No. 2: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid is only available during presidentially declared disasters. Federal aid is often in the form of a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that you must pay back with interest. Flood insurance policies pay claims whether or not a disaster is declared.

Outside the Floodplain

  • Myth No. 3: I live outside the floodplain, so I don't need to buy flood insurance.
  • Fact No. 3: Almost one third of all flood claims are paid on structures outside identified floodplains. Floods can occur anywhere. An area that is near a levee or a dam is at risk of the levee or dam breaking. People who face even moderate flood risks should get insurance, which can be purchased for as little as $136 per year.

Previous Flooding

  • Myth No. 4: I can't buy flood insurance because my home has been flooded previously.
  • Fact No. 4: It doesn't matter where you live in Wheeling or if your home has been flooded before. You may still buy flood insurance.

Far Reaching Consequences

  • Myth No. 5: If people don't want to purchase flood insurance, it's their own business. It doesn't really affect me.
  • Fact No. 5: When people do not buy flood insurance, you pay more for federal and state disaster relief. Flood insurance is one of the best ways to keep disaster relief costs down for all taxpayers.

Owners & Renters

  • Myth No. 6: Flood insurance is available only for homeowners.
  • Fact No. 6: Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums and nonresidential buildings, including farm and commercial structures, anywhere in Wheeling whether in or out of the floodplain. Contents coverage is also available, so renters can receive coverage as well.

Structure & Contents

  • Myth No. 7: I can't buy insurance to cover what's in my house.
  • Fact No. 7: There are two types of flood insurance policies, one covers the building structure and another covers the building's contents. Homeowners should purchase both types of policies to afford maximum coverage and renters can purchase contents coverage to cover the loss of personal property in a flood.

Purchasing Timeframe

  • Myth No. 8: If a flood is forecast in the near future, it's too late for me to purchase insurance.
  • Fact No. 8: You can purchase flood insurance anytime. However, there is a 30-day waiting period after you have applied and paid the premium before the policy is in effect. The policy will not cover a loss in progress.

Federal Flood Insurance

  • Myth No. 9: I can only buy federal flood insurance through the federal government.
  • Fact No. 9: You can buy federal flood insurance through most major private insurance companies and property insurance agents. To find an agent in your area, call 888-FLOOD29 or TTY 800-427-5593.

Basement Coverage

  • Myth No. 10: The NFIP does not offer any type of coverage for basements.
  • Fact No. 10: Yes it does. The NFIP defines a basement as any area of a building with a floor that is below ground level on all sides. Basement coverage under an NFIP policy includes clean-up expenses and repair or replacement of items used to service homes and buildings. These can include elevators, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, utility connections, circuit breaker boxes, pumps and tanks used in solar energy systems. Flood insurance will not cover the contents of a finished basement and basement improvements such as finished walls, floors, and ceilings.

More Information

For more information on flood insurance, visit the FEMA website.

Substantial Damage

In addition, those NFIP policy holders who suffer substantial damage (50% or more loss) may be eligible for $30,000 of Increase Cost of Compliance coverage to elevate, relocate, or flood proof in order to avoid future flood losses.


Flood Insurance is available to any property owner located in the Village of Wheeling. The Village of Wheeling has participated in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since 1978. It does not matter if your structure is located in or out of an identified floodplain. Flood Insurance is available to everyone in Wheeling.

Purchasing a Policy

Homeowners, business owners and renters in Wheeling can purchase flood insurance from any licensed insurance agent. For more assistance regarding flood insurance policies please contact the NFIP at 800-427-4661.


This information was submitted by:
Paul Osman, Manager
Statewide Floodplain Programs
Illinois Office of Water Resources