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On Your Side: Many flooded basements not covered by insurance

PORTLAND (WGME) - As homeowners are cleaning up after record breaking rain in Portland, CBS 13 learns many flooded and damaged basements won't be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, some homeowners and renters are learning that too late.

All day insurance agents in the Portland area were busy fielding calls from homeowners and renters with questions about their policies. At Noyes, Hall and Allen in South Portland, they say they had the most calls they've ever had in a day about water soaked basements.

Whether or not damage is covered, really depends on how the water came into your home or apartment. Insurance experts say flooding and water backup are typically not covered by a standard homeowners policy.

There is a common add-on you can get that gives owners and renters water backup coverage. For example, if water comes in through a drain or sewer. Water that comes in through cracks in the foundation or over window sills needs to be covered by flood insurance. That is always a separate policy, backed by FEMA. Click here to learn more.

"I think a lot of folks don't see a lot of flooding so if you don't live near a body of water, they don't think about it. Last night was a great example, my street was a river, yours probably was, too, and I don't live anywhere near the water," insurance agent Bob O'Brian said.

The state Bureau of Insurance says many people are unaware that an off-the-shelf policy doesn't cover flooding. This is an important reminder to read the fine print and review your policy.

As for car insurance, if you have comprehensive coverage, you should be all set.

If you still have questions about what's covered by your insurance policy, talk to your local agent.