You work hard to protect the things in your life that are valuable.
You have auto insurance to protect your vehicle. Most people have health insurance to cover medical expenses and make sure they and their family are well. You even have renters or home owner’s insurance to safeguard the place you live and its contents.
However, did you know that home owner’s insurance may not be enough to cover all types of claims?
Flood waters can do extensive damage, and you do not have to live in a flood-prone area to be affected. Most standard homeowner policies do not protect you in the event of a flood.
Are you covered if your home and the belongings inside were to be damaged due to flood water?
You should ask yourself; do I need flood insurance?
What Causes a Flood
Most people believe only those living near a body of water have to be concerned with flooding. That is not always the case. In fact, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, and it can occur almost anywhere.
Almost half of all flood loss occurs outside of areas typically deemed high-risk, and nearly everyone involved does not have flood insurance.
Waters can rise due to heavy rains, rapid snowmelt, a ruptured dam or water main. Hurricanes can cause a flood risk hundreds of miles inland depending on its severity and path.
Some flood waters can be tracked for days and a warning goes out with time to get out and prepare. Other times, a flash flood can spring up immediately in a localized area with no warning and take everyone by surprise.
A flood does not have to completely submerge property to be costly. Just a little bit of water can result in very expensive repairs. In the United States alone, damages due to flooding hit close to eight billion dollars every year.
Is Flood Insurance Required
There are some instances where you are required to carry flood insurance.
If your home is located in an area that is considered high-risk for flooding and your mortgage is through an insured lender, you will need to purchase flood insurance.
Lenders in low-to-moderate risk areas may not be federally mandated to enforce this type of insurance, but individual lenders may choose to make it a condition of the loan.
Don’t rely on just the word of the real estate agent or even the mortgage lender though. It is their job to sell you a home, not protect it. It is not their responsibility to know the flood risk factors in the area surrounding your home.
Remember, just a few inches of water can cost thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Even if flood insurance is not required to secure the loan, it is always a good idea to at least research the option. Your home and the valuable contents inside can be damaged in a flash. Don’t wait until it is too late to protect your investment.
Do I Need Flood Insurance Where I Live
If you are concerned about the flood risk in your area, there is a website provided by the National Flood Insurance Program that can help you determine that.
When you go to www.floodsmart.gov you can enter any address to find out the level of flood risk for that property. From the home page, go to “residential coverage” and click the “homeowner” tab. This will take you to the screen to enter the address.
Keep in mind though, that a low flood risk does not mean no risk. Flood damage can happen anywhere, and the only way to protect your property and belongings is to have adequate flood insurance coverage.
Can My Risk Factor Change
The answer to that question is yes. FEMA does re-evaluate flood risk zones periodically and will update any changes. It is wise to research this information to make sure your property has not changed from low/moderate to high risk.
The amount of flood insurance determines the overall coverage allowed for your belongings. As additions are made to the value of your home and its contents, make sure the flood insurance amount is enough to compensate fully for any loss or damage.
Home remodeling can also affect the need to upgrade your flood insurance. Whether you have added on to your dwelling or moved important features like the electrical panels or HVAC system, any changes that could result in significant water damage by flooding should be noted and accounted for.
Even if you are in a low-risk area, it is always a good idea to be prepared.
In addition to flood insurance coverage, there are a few things you can do to mitigate any damages.
Make sure the gutters on your home are properly installed and free of debris. Their job is to funnel water away from the home and if they are not functioning properly, water can get inside sooner.
Also, check on the water drains outside at the street level. These should also be clear of trash and clutter to allow for water to freely flow.
Have an emergency kit ready in the event you need to leave quickly. This should include a few changes of clothes, toiletries, money for a couple of days, contact numbers for friends and family and also your insurance agent. You should have the policy information written down and take that with you as well.
It is a good idea to have an evacuation route planned. When the waters start to rise you may not have much time, so knowing where you will go will be helpful. Always heed the advice and warnings of the officials when they say it is time to leave. Do not return until it is safe.
If possible, turn the main electrical breaker to your home off, but never attempt that in standing water and don’t waste precious escape time if the waters are rising quickly.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Hopefully, all of this information has caused you to ask; do I need flood insurance? Whether or not it is required where you live, it is always a good idea to invest in this safeguard protection for your home and its contents.
Flooding can occur almost anywhere, and in some cases, it is swift with little warning. Knowing your investment and personal valuables are covered will bring you long term peace of mind.
For more information on how we can help protect your family and home, please reach out.