Flood Law & Legal Definition


A flood is rain entering through wind-damaged windows, doors or a hole in a wall or the roof, resulting in standing water or puddles, is considered windstorm damage and is covered by your homeowner's policy, rather than flood insurance. A flood is defined as "a general and temporary condition during which the surface of normally dry land is partially or completely inundated". Flooding can be caused by heavy rains, melting snow, by inadequate drainage systems, failed protective devices such as levees and dams, as well as by tropical storms and hurricanes.

The following is an example of a case law defining flood:

Flood refers to “water which inundates an area of the surface of the earth where it ordinarily would not be expected to be," and "water which has overflowed the natural banks of the stream in its natural channel.”[Florida E. C. R. Co. v. United States, 519 F.2d 1184, 1192 (5th Cir. Fla. 1975)]

It is important to understand that a homeowner's policy does not cover flood damage. Flood damage must be covered under flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Disaster relief only applies in certain situations, requiring your property to be presidentially declared a disaster area. Federal aid relief is funded through taxpayer dollars and often must be repaid with interest.