Stay Afloat with Flood Insurance

By: Eliana Sagarin

When disaster strikes, flood insurance keeps you dry.

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When Water Levels Rise, Tempers don't have to

Flooding is the most common natural disaster to affect homeowners in the United States. Besides being extremely common, flooding can be very costly. Just 1 inch of flooding in a one-story property can generate over $26,000 in damages – compromising the structure of your home and destroying your possessions. Investing in flood insurance will give you the peace of mind when waters rise.  

Why Flood Insurance? Your homeowners insurance protects your home from water that comes from the sky (what you may know as rain!) but if water enters your home from the ground up, your homeowners insurance is unlikely to cover it.  If you live close to a river, for example, and waters levels rise as a result of extreme weather, the flooding and subsequent damage wouldn’t be covered by your homeowners insurance.

Flooding is the most common kind of property damage in the United States, but in 2016 only 12 percent of homeowners invested in flood insurance despite annual flood damage of $1.9 billion in the last decade.

Should I get Flood Insurance?

If you live on a coast, flood insurance might seem like a no-brainer (it might even be legally required), but it’s not only coastal residents who should consider flood insurance. If your home is located near a creek or a river, a hurricane stalling over your town could mean devastating flooding and damage. Even if you live 100 miles off the coast, it might be worth exploring:  Keep in mind that around a fifth of flood claims come from outside so-called "high risk" flood zones. Stay uninsured at your own risk.  

Get Covered

It's helpful to note that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides some flooding assistance in case of a natural disaster, but these funds barely scrape the surface when it comes to covering the cost of flood damage. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, FEMA gave an average homeowner grant payout of $7,114.

If you're in a high-risk flood area, coverage through a participating National Flood Insurance Program insurer or a private insurer is the best guarantee to keep all of your property safe.

The price of flood insurance varies greatly depending on where you live. A flood insurance premium can range anywhere from $1,400 to $544 annually.  

What to Cover

For maximum protection, it's important to cover both the building and the contents of your property. Building insurance covers features such as flooring, sump pumps and structural walls. Covered within personal property (contents) insurance are possessions such as your furniture, washer and dryer, and electronics. Flood insurance for building and personal property are purchased separately and come with their own deductibles.  

Donald Trump says global warming is a hoax. No matter the cause, flooding is definitely on the rise. Don't be left high and dry when flooding happens. It's time to invest in flood insurance.