Water is a powerful force in nature. It shapes the landscape of the United States and the world in many ways. It's a necessary part of life – after all, human bodies are composed of up to 60% water.
However, water isn't always welcome. Flooding is among the most destructive natural disasters. It can ruin homes, destroy businesses and take lives.
As a homeowner, keeping your property safe should be a top priority. That includes taking preventive action against the risk of flooding. But, many property owners don’t realize flooding damage isn't covered by a traditional homeowners insurance policy. If you want to comprehensive insurance policy for your property, flood insurance should be part of the solution.
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What Is Flood Insurance?
The vast majority of standard home insurance plans don't cover the effects of flooding. Unfortunately, most homeowners don't learn this until it's too late. Flood insurance coverage is typically provided on a policy separate from traditional homeowners insurance.
Flooding doesn't include just any water damage, though. Rather, the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) defines flood damage as:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waters
- Rain and accumulation of surface waters from any source
- Breakdown of land along the shores of a lake or similar body of water
Flood insurance covers damage to a home and foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) systems, appliances and debris removal. A separate policy can cover personal property.
Unlike standard insurance options, which are sold through private companies, primary flood insurance is most often sold by private insurance companies using the government's National Flood Insurance Program. Policies are capped at $350,000. Supplemental policies are available for those with property and possessions in excess of this amount as well, providing numerous options to incorporate coverage for flooding into your insurance portfolio.
Why Does Flood Insurance Matter?
Simply put, flooding can happen in a wide range of regions, no matter the time of year or the local weather patterns. While some areas are more likely to see flooding than others, many properties can experience a devastating flood.
If you think you're not at risk, think again: more than 20% of flood insurance claims come from low and moderate risk level areas. Tragically, only 12% of Americans choose this vital protection, putting numerous properties at risk each year. The government may provide assistance in case of significant disasters. But, many homeowners do not realize that this funding comes with strings attached. Most federal aid for natural disasters is available in the form of loans with interest.
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
Do you have $30,000 or more set aside to spend on repairing flood damage? As this is the average amount of a standard flood claim, such an expense could put countless families in financial jeopardy from coast to coast.
If you have a home and are located in any area in the country that is subject to heavy rains, near a volatile body of water or in a flood plain, it’s prudent to consider flood insurance.
For those living in a flood plain, flood insurance is generally required by mortgage companies. So in that case, the purchase decision may not be up to you. Even if you are not required to buy it, flood insurance can still be a small investment to protect against the risk of big losses.
If you have questions about this article or your flood insurance, please contact
Heather Duffy at 732 832 7546.
20 Commerce Drive
Article and photo courtesy of Selective Insurance.