Not What You Think: Common Types of Floods That Damage Your Home

April 9, 2019

Most people don’t realize how expensive flood repairs can be. Even just one inch of water can cost up to $27,000 dollars.

You might be thinking, “Well, it doesn’t rain very much in our area. So, we don’t have to worry about flood insurance.” But, that’s not necessarily the case.

In fact, some floods affect even the driest of areas. As a homeowner, it’s extremely important to know the types of floods you are at risk for, and how to prepare for them.

Lucky for you, we’ve written a handy guide to the different types of floods that can damage your home. Put your waders on and let’s dive in!

What Are the Different Types of Floods?

First, let’s take a look at the different types of floods, as well as the areas they most often affect.

Coastal Floods

Probably one of the more common types of floods, coastal floods occur when a body of water grows higher and higher until it comes up on land.

Coastal floods result from increased rainfall and wind, as well as high tides. These three things in tandem can cause significant property damage, as well as pose a safety risk to occupants of onshore homes.

It’s difficult to avoid coastal floods because they are primarily a result of location. For instance, places like Savannah, Georgia or San Francisco are the victim of lots of coastal floods due to their proximity to large bodies of water.

Ultimately, the best defense against coastal floods is awareness. Knowing when coastal floods might happen and having an evacuation plan and emergency food/water is key.

River Floods

River floods are similar to coastal floods; they involve a river’s water level rising and rising until it floods over the banks.

This may be even more common than coastal floods, as rivers are a common feature in much of the United States.

This also becomes a huge problem in persistently snowy areas, as the snowmelt from a particularly cold winter can raise river levels several feet or more.

If you live near a river, it’s prudent to have an evacuation plan and emergency rations in the case of a river flood.

This doesn’t mean that you can avoid having a plan entirely if you don’t live near a river, though – river floods can cause overflows in other bodies of water near the river as well.

This means that river floods have a far greater destructive potential than they seem.

Flash Floods

Unlike the first two entries, these types of floods are significant because they can occur nearly anywhere. This makes them particularly dangerous because it’s difficult to prepare for them.

Flash floods are caused by significant, sudden rainfall that isn’t absorbed into the ground.

As such, dry areas are disproportionately affected by flash flooding because the soil in those areas is very often dry and non-porous. When it rains heavily, the water has nowhere to go, meaning it floods onto streets and into properties.

Flash floods are typically over quickly, though that doesn’t mean they are any less dangerous than coastal or river floods.

In fact, flash floods can be more dangerous because of the short amount of time in between the rain and the flood.

Regardless of the area you live in, it’s a good idea to know what to do and not to do in a flash flood situation.

Sewer/Drain Floods

These events are one of the types of floods that don’t always rely on the weather to occur. For example, a large blockage in a sewer system is sometimes enough to cause a drain flood.

This can happen in multiple different environments – a sewer flood might happen out of an exterior drain, as there is a blockage in outdoor or underground pipes.

A drain flood can also happen inside a building, particularly if the building’s inhabitants aren’t wary of what they put into the drains. Stopping the use of flushable wipes is a good way to prevent these kinds of clogs.

Protecting Your Home

Now that we’ve talked about the different types of floods, let’s look into how you can safeguard your home from these floods.

We’ll also cover some cleanup tips in the event that a flood has already happened.


Preventive action is the best step a homeowner can take in regard to floods. After all, it’s much easier to prevent damage than it is to clean up and pay for repairs.

Here are some preventative tips for protecting your home from flooding:

  • Essential Items: It’s extremely important to have a good stock of essential items in flood-prone areas. This means having a week’s worth of food and water, first aid, flashlights, emergency savings, etc.
  • Flood-Proofing: Make sure to safeguard electrical systems so they aren’t exposed to water damage. If it’s possible, elevate critical equipment like HVAC systems and boilers.
  • Roofing: Always make sure your roof is clean and free from damage. The roof is a key defensive point from flooding.
  • Documentation: Make sure to keep your possessions documented. This is extremely helpful in the event of insurance claims.


Let’s say a flood already happened, and the cleanup looks daunting, especially when looking at all the damage. Use these tips to help you get started.

  • Contact your homeowner’s insurance first
  • Always be careful when entering the home (no open flames, look for open electrical hazards)
  • Remove any standing water first and as quickly as possible
  • Disinfect everything the water has touched
  • Clean furniture and other items outside, not inside
  • Replace rugs and carpeting
  • Clean out and maintain HVAC equipment

Now What?

Now that you know the different types of floods and how to prevent significant damage, you’re prepared for the worst. But remember – you’re not alone in this.

As terrifying as it can be going through a flood, we can provide you peace of mind knowing your possessions and home are covered. Check out our insurance for homeowners in flood-prone areas.


**This blog provides a brief overview of the terms and phrases used within the insurance industry. These definitions are not applicable in all states or for all insurance and financial products. This is not an insurance contract. Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Please read your official policy for full details about coverage. These definitions do not alter or modify the terms of any insurance contract.