I've had bad days, bad haircuts and once, thanks to some iffy Kung Pao San Yan, bad shrimp.
I've also had bad information, and in my last column, I made the mistake of passing it on to you. My apologies. Being wrong makes me feel worse than the bad shrimp and look sillier than the bad haircut, so let me set things straight.
Karl Rove on Election Night.
Wreck in the rec room
Dig through the National Flood policy summary on the FloodSmart.gov website and there's one big exception -- any basements or "areas below the lowest elevated floor." Sure, the coverage includes contents, such as furnishings, electronics, even furs, up to $100,000 -- but only above ground level. Go any lower, and it only covers walls, foundations and furnaces and such.
That leaves homeowners with finished basements with a big problem. A basement remodeling project averages $63,378, according to Remodeling Magazine, including a bathroom and a wet bar with oak cabinets. Add home theater components, carpeting, paneling and more, and you'll give that bar a workout if one bad rainstorm wipes out your gorgeous lower level and you're stuck without insurance to cover the cost.
But if Bruce Springsteen's voice can be insured for $5.7 million, and Heidi Klum's legs for $2.2 million, can't homeowners cover whatever a flood would wreck in the rec room?
Coal cellar to wine cellar
Yes, but you'll have to hunt around. It's called "excess flood insurance," and you can get coverage of up to $50 million, notes Steven Vanuga, regional vice president for Adjusters International/Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro, in Buffalo, N.Y. Typically, excess insurance is purchased in addition to regular flood insurance.
One insurer offering the coverage is Chubb Corp. "The days of the basement being a place where you stored coal are gone," notes spokesman David Hilgen. "Now people put home theater systems down there, wine collections, and all sorts of electronics and fine furniture."
Naturally, the coverage won't be as cheap as the one-price federal flood program, but it makes sense for homeowners with significant investments in below-ground living space. Shop around through independent agents (http://www.trustedchoice.com) or ask for a recommendation from a public insurance adjuster (http://www.napia.com).
OK, so now with THAT all straightened out, admitting I was wrong really doesn't hurt a bit. You should give it a try some time, Karl.
(Brian J. O'Connor is an award-winning columnist for The Detroit News. Contact him at email@example.com.)