As winter winds down (fingers crossed!), Spring is on the horizon. And with Spring comes rain so now is a great time to prepare. Part of your preparation should include the consideration of flood insurance. In 2019, a great many of us endured a tremendous amount of rain and some significant flooding.
It’s important for you to look into flood insurance because unfortunately, your homeowners insurance will not cover the cost of flood damage.
With that in mind, your agent can help you find the coverage you need. But it never hurts for you learn a bit about flood insurance. The following are some topics that can help you make an educated decision about you and your family’s needs.
What Is Flood Insurance?
Summed up, flood insurance will cover your property/structure and most of your belongings if it’s inundated by natural water (i.e., rain, waves, etc.). Many policies dictate that the water must cover at least two acres of normally dry land in order to qualify for reimbursement.
Will My Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Flood Insurance?
Unfortunately, no. A homeowners policy will never cover costs of floods or a number of other catastrophic accidents. It’s too difficult to predict the total cost of flood damage (or damage by other natural disasters) to homes each year.
Also, not enough insurance policyholders will pay extra towards their premiums for this protection, in order to cover the amount of money the insurance company would have to pay in damage claims. Therefore, offering the coverage isn’t worth it to them.
Is Flood Insurance Mandatory?
Possibly. Your mortgage lender may require you to have a policy if your property is located in an area deemed to be at high risk of flooding. However, even properties that are not in designated high-risk areas may require coverage.
Check in with your mortgage lender to be sure. Either way, it’s a safe bet to have it. Waking up to a basement full of water isn’t a fun time and having coverage could at least cushion the financial blow.
Why Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Well, for peace of mind, for starters. Floods cause millions of dollars in damage each year. And they are the most common natural disaster in the US. Water damage is also pricey.
As little as one inch of water in a home can cost as much as $21,000. Having coverage could mean the difference between financial devastation and being able to rest easy, should a storm hit your area.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance policies are similar to homeowners insurance policies in the sense that they exist to protect both your home and your stuff. The difference is that it’s there to cushion the financial blow should your property become flooded by a natural water source (and no, a badly clogged toilet doesn’t count).
Flood insurance will specifically cover:
- Damage to/loss of your home: Including the foundation of the structure, electrical systems, indoor plumbing, built-in appliances and additional flooring installed – such as carpeting.
- Damage to/loss of your stuff: Including furniture (built-in and free-standing), smaller/not built-in appliances, some food, valuables and clothing.
*Any depreciation of your property’s value will be factored into what the insurance policy pays towards reimbursement for damages.
Can I Only Get Flood Insurance from the State I Live in?
No. Flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is part of FEMA. It’s not necessary to get a state-specific plan. Also, you can only get coverage by purchasing it through an agent – you cannot directly buy it from the NFIP.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
The cost of flood insurance policies depends on a couple of factors like location, flooding history and the elevation of your property. Basically, the further away from flood zones you are and the less history of flooding you have, the less you’ll pay.
Rough price range for flood insurance:
- Low-end: If you live out in the middle of nowhere (like, say, Pennsylvania), you might pay only $300 annually.
- High-end: If you live in a high-risk flood area (like, say, Houston) you might pay an eyebrow-raising $3,500 annually.
Finding/Comparing Flood Insurance Quotes
Your agent should be able to help you evaluate which type of flood insurance makes the most sense for you. They can also compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the best protection out there.
Be prepared. Be safe!