Yesterday’s heavy rains got me thinking about flood insurance, but I did not have the time to write an article until today.
It reminds me of a funny cartoon of Noah trying to file a claim with his insurance company. Paraphrasing it said:
“I am sorry Noah. I know that it rained for forty days and forty nights, but we have a different definition of what a flood is.”
The cartoon illustrates how important it is to understand our policy coverage.
It has been a relatively quiet Hurricane season, but don’t forget we still have two more months and it only takes one direct hit to cause problems for a lot of us, especially in Coastal areas.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program approximately 25% of all flood claims come from people that are in areas not indicated as flood zones. From 2008 to 2012 the average residential flood claim was over $38,000.
You don’t have to live near a body of water to be concerned with flooding. Heavy rains can cause flash flooding even in normally dry areas away from any body of water. Older sewer systems may not be able to handle the increased rainfall and are another major factor in flooding.
Remember Tropical Storm Debby, in late June 2012? The Anclote and Pithlachascotee Rivers rose well above major flood stage and left the area between them under water. My own neighborhood, is not in a flood zone, but we had water coming up from the sewer systems and the water rose so high it not only flooded our streets, but threatened our houses. I spent a majority of the day sandbagging the perimeter of my house as well as help neighbors protect their homes.
Just because you may not be located in a flood plain, does not mean that you do not qualify for government flood insurance! Whether your home is in a standard or preferred (B,C and X zone) or high-risk (A and V zone), NFIP can provide coverage. Premium is based on the level of risk and is quite affordable in preferred zones. Call your agent for a flood determination and quote.
Many people don’t inquire about flood insurance, because they do not think they can afford it. Standard and preferred rates with NFIP can start as low as $415.00 a year for $250,000 building and $100,000 content coverage. Hi risk areas are more expensive and usually require a flood elevation certificate if the home was built after an area as been mapped (post FIRM). Also Coastal areas will start to see dramatic increases in premiums as FEMA begins removing subsidies. High-risk coastal areas may see as much as a 25% jump in premium begging this year.
The most common misunderstanding is that people think they are covered for flood, by their homeowners’ insurance. Homeowners’ insurance will cover water damage caused from cracked pipes or certain other damage caused by water damage not related to rising water. Floods caused by rising water is not covered under your homeowner insurance policy. In most cases sewer backup is not covered either. Some insurance companies will allow you to add sewer back-up coverage, for an additional premium and only by endorsement. It is very important that you go over policy coverage with your agent.