Flood insurance is one of those things you might not think about — until a storm is churning in the Gulf of Mexico or you’re knee deep in muddy water in your living room.
At that point, it’s too late. You’re left with moldy furniture, ruined flooring, and probably a big replacement cost.
You’re not alone though. 87% of homeowners don’t have a flood insurance policy. But why?
Many of us have common misconceptions about flood insurance. So let’s clear some of those up:
Flood Insurance Misconceptions
Misconception #1: You don’t need flood insurance because you “don’t live in flood zone.”
We all live in a “flood zone” because any place is capable of flooding, given the right conditions. Even historically dry areas have been known to flood without warning. That’s why it’s important to protect your property with flood insurance, so you’re not left saying “I never thought it would flood here!” The question is, what type of coverage do you want?
The key is knowing your personal level of flood risk and determine if you live in one of the following:
- High Risk Zones: Homes in high risk flood zones are more likely to be damaged by flood than fire.
- Low-to-moderate Risk Zones: Even though homes and buildings outside of high-risk zones are not required to carry flood insurance, they still account for about 25% of all National Flood Insurance Program claims and they receive one third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding.
In other words, you don’t have to be near a body of water to be at risk. Anywhere it can rain, it can flood.
Misconception #2: My ______ (fill in the blank – friend, spouse, realtor, loan officer) told me I don’t live in a flood zone.
This simply couldn’t be more wrong. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) doesn’t offer flood insurance everywhere. Flood insurance is only offered in communities that are in a flood zone. If you home or business is not in a community that offers flood insurance, then you are not in a flood zone. If it is available for you to purchase, you ARE in a flood zone.
Flood Zone X is a flood zone. If your home or business is in flood zone X, you are in a flood zone.
Misconception #3: You don’t need flood insurance unless your property is in a flood-prone area.
Not true. Your property may be at risk. Heavy rainfall, or tropical storms can all cause flooding, and floods happen more often and in more parts of the country than you think.
Granted, some areas (coastal cities or towns that get pummeled by hurricanes) are more vulnerable to floods than others. But just because you haven’t been hit by floods before, doesn’t mean you never will.
It’s a good idea to look into flood insurance no matter where your home or business is located — whether that means you live in an area with little rainfall, miles away from swelling rivers and lakes, or in a zip code that falls safely outside a flood zone.
In fact, over the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods.
Misconception #4: My homeowners insurance or Business Owners Policy (BOP) covers flood damage.
Not true. When it comes to your typical renter’s, condo, homeowners or business insurance policy, all types of water damage are not covered.
While most homeowners insurance policies may cover water damage from a burst pipe, flood damage is not usually covered. A flood is described as water rising from the street.
Understanding Flood Risks and Insurance Requirements in Your Area
You may not realize it but even a minor flood can cause serious property damage within a matter of minutes. Actually, floods destroy or damage more homes than any other weather catastrophes in the United States.
Depending on where you live, your flood risk can be high, moderate or low, and your insurance rates and requirements are decided based on your flood zone:
- High-Risk Areas
There’s a 1 in 4 chance that a home or business in a high-risk zone will flood. That’s why homeowners and businesses in these areas are typically required to carry flood insurance by their lenders. Usually, they qualify for a Standard Risk Policy.
- Moderate-to-Low Risk Areas
The threat of flooding in these areas is not as high. Even so, flood insurance may be something to consider, because residents in these areas have filed about 25% of all National Flood Insurance Program claims. Usually, homeowners and businesses in low-to-moderate risk zones can qualify for a low-cost Preferred Risk policy.
- Evaluate your property’s flood risk.
- Find out which flood insurance policies you’re eligible for.
- Get covered the way you want, if you’re a condo owner or renter.
- Make an informed decision on flood insurance and understand what it covers.
When is the best time to get flood insurance? While we usually associate floods with severe weather like hurricanes, they can happen any time of the year. A neighborhood flash flood caused by a sudden storm can strike quickly. Combined with insufficient storm drainage, the damage to your home or business could be quite serious. With a few exceptions, Texas flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period before it becomes effective, so it’s important to plan ahead so you can be prepared.
Contact agent Angela Johnson today to discuss your needs and give yourself some peace of mind.
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