Many homeowners don’t realize the importance of having a flood insurance policy for their property. But, if you have a mortgage on your property, or if you live in a high risk flood area, your lender probably will require you to have or purchase flood insurance. However, if you live in a moderate to low risk zone, and your community belongs to the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program), then you have the option of whether you would like to purchase a policy or not.
If you’re in the first category, then you probably are wondering how much flood insurance costs. Federal Flood Insurance can cost just a few hundred dollars, or can even cost as much as $10,000 a year depending on the risk involved.
Here are some other key points that can help you decide on whether or not to purchase a policy for your property:
First, your standard homeowners insurance won’t cover flood damage. Once water touches the ground and enters your property, it is considered a flood in their eyes, and only flood insurance will be able to cover the damages. A good example would be this: if hail damages your roof during a storm and rainwater damages your ceiling and floor, which would be covered by your standard policy. But, if heavy rainfall causes the stream in your neighborhood to overflow into your home, that would only be covered by flood insurance.
Here is the National Flood Insurance Programs definition of a flood: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area of two or more properties (at least one of which is yours) from overflow of inland or tidal waters, from unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or from mudflow.
The truth is, everyone lives in a flood zone to some degree, it is just a matter of how much risk of flood is present. The NFIP can educate you on your property’s exact risk of flooding, but all in all, zones A and V are high risk areas. Zones B, C, and X are considered moderate to low risk areas, and zone D means that the risk isn’t exactly known because it hasn’t been mapped out yet. Just because you live in zone D does not mean you can’t purchase insurance though, because these zones are used to determine policy rates.
Most homeowners don’t know this, but more than 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk zones. That’s 1 out of 5, and it is still not counting homeowners who weren’t insurance and couldn’t file claims. No one knows how many uninsured there are, although only a small 18% of homeowners have flood insurance.
When a flood strikes your property, you can’t rely on government aid. This comes in the form of loans which you will eventually have to repay. Before you can even qualify for a loan your area has to be declared a federal disaster zone, and federal disaster assistance is declared in less than half of all flooding events!
Did you know that the average flood claim is about $30,000? But, if you live in an area where the water rises so high that the first responders must cut holes in the roof for rescue, your potential flood loss may be quite higher.
If you decide that you want to purchase flood insurance, you can get an idea of how much coverage you’ll need by creating a home inventory. This will then estimate the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home after a flood. Together, those two figures will mesh to create your total potential loss. There are two choices in this situation. A federal flood policy would cover the rebuilding costs of up to $250,000, but you can also get a NFIP to cover $100,000 in your possessions.
If your home is larger and has more possessions, you would have to buy a private flood insurance policy called excess coverage to insure the value of your home above $250,000. That is where your insurance agent can come in, and provide you with more options.
When you first talk to your agent, be sure to ask them these questions and receive answers before making a decision:
-What will and what will not be covered?
-Are there any additional expenses or agency fees?
-Will my policy insure me for actual cost of items, or just what the items are valued?
-Can my zone change, meaning change in rate?
If you are in need of a quality contractor in the water damage restoration industry, make sure that they are respected and reputable.