Do I Need Flood Insurance? Why It’s Becoming More and More Necessary

Do I Need Flood Insurance? Why It's Becoming More and More Necessary
You might be thinking: I’m not in a high-risk area, do I need flood insurance? We take a look at why taking it out is the most sensible option.

Keyword(s): Do I Need Flood Insurance

With 16 different billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, 2017 was a historic year for disaster-related damage.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S. Considering their frequency is increasing, you’ve probably wondered: “Do I need flood insurance?”

Regardless of whether you live in a high or low-risk flood area, the risk of increased flooding affects everybody. And when disaster strikes, flood insurance can save you thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.

Keep reading to find out how.

What Is Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance is a separate policy from your home insurance. It can be purchased through two vendors in the U.S.: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and private insurers.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

FEMA offers flood insurance through the NFIP. This type of flood insurance is sold through designated insurance agents.

To qualify for building property and personal property coverage, your community must fall into one of 21,000 participating communities. It takes approximately 30 days for a policy to take effect. The limit on NFIP coverage is $250,000 on a home and $100,000 on your belongings.

Typically less expensive than private flood insurance, the average cost of NFIP coverage is $670. The higher the flood risk in the community you live, the higher the cost.

Private Coverage

Some private insurance agents sell flood insurance that isn’t funded by FEMA. These policies, their cost, and the coverage they provide vary widely from company to company.

A private insurance agent can offer more coverage than the NFIP. They can also put a policy into effect in less than a week. And in the case that the insurer determines your home is a lower risk than the FEMA map, you can save money on your premium.

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

In some areas of the country, mortgage lenders that are federally regulated or insured require home buyers to purchase flood insurance. This is the case for people whose homes fall in high-risk flood areas.

If your home falls in a moderate or low-risk area, flood insurance isn’t mandatory – but it’s increasingly necessary.

Why?

Your home insurance policy probably doesn’t cover the damage caused by a flood.

Most home insurance companies cover water damage when the water originates in the home or from the sky. If you get water damage from an overflowing toilet or as a result of rain, you’re covered. But when a creek or river floods and causes damage – like in the case of a flash flood – your house insurance won’t cover you.

If disaster strikes and you don’t have a separate flood insurance policy, the cost of repairs will come from your pocket. Sometimes, disaster relief and low-interest loans may be available through the federal government. But that’s money that still has to get paid back.

How Do I Know I’m at Risk?

FEMA conducts annual in-house studies to determine their Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). They update the risk category of every community based on their findings.

You may think that low or moderate-risk zones don’t need flood insurance. But FEMA conducts these studies every year for a reason — flood risk constantly changes.

Flood maps change according to factors such as land use, weather patterns, wildfires, and community development. That means you can go from a high-risk zone to a low-risk zone or vice versa at any time.

Beyond that, 30% of flood insurance claims were made from low and moderate risk zones. Everybody is at risk for flooding which is why flood insurance is an important investment.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Flood Insurance?

If you live in a high-risk flood zone, consider buying both types of coverage. That’s even more important if your home is valued at more than $250,000.

Homes of that value will exceed the NFIP coverage. You can carry the maximum coverage through NFIP at a (usually) cheaper rate, and cover the rest of the value with a private insurance company. In this way, you’re maximizing the coverage of your property.

What Can I Do To Protect Against Floods?

You can’t prevent the damage done by major floods — especially those caused by natural disasters. But there are things you can do around your home to prevent the most common floods.

If you notice dripping taps, pipes that are leaking, running toilets, or wearing hoses, get them fixed immediately. Putting off plumbing problems or using temporary fixes can make them worse and cost you more in the long-term.

A regular inspection can also ensure your house is up to code. A licensed plumber can help you understand your plumbing and drainage system. Armed with that knowledge, you can better maintain the plumbing in your home.

Basement Flood Prevention

Flooding in your basement can cause thousands of dollars in damage. It usually occurs as a result of heavy rains as well as melting snow and ice.

Prevent basement flooding by taking the following steps:

  • Ensure your eavestrough and downspout can drain properly and aren’t clogged by debris
  • Clear debris from roadside grates by your home to allow for proper drainage
  • Clear debris from drainage swales between properties
  • Check that the grading around your house slopes away from your foundation
  • Seal any cracks or leaks you find in floors, walls, windows, and especially foundations
  • Seal all your window wells

Another great way to protect your home from flooding is to make more green space around your house. Planting native plants and shrubs can help absorb rainwater as well as melting snow and ice. Combine this with porous pavement for added protective benefits.

Is Your Home Protected?

For most people, the answer to “Do I need flood insurance?” is yes. Most home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by floods. And with the frequency of floods increasing, flood insurance ensures your biggest investment is protected.

Whether you live in a low or high-risk flood zone, you should consider flood insurance. Contact us today to find out more.