For much of the country, the approach of warmer weather signifies flooding, with damage ranging from a little seepage to total home submerging. Many are unaware of the dangerous implications of increased flood risks, and no area is immune to flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls flooding the most common and costly disaster in the U.S.
Unfortunately, flood damage isn’t covered by standard homeowners’ insurance policy, and according to FEMA, just one inch of floodwater can cause as much as $25,000 in damage.1
Updated flood map models using the latest river, elevation, and rainfall data point to additional grim statistics: the actual number of people exposed to flood risk is approximately 41 million – not 13 million as FEMA previously estimated.2
And while citizens turn to Congress to update the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is about $20.5 billion in debt,3 change is slow to come as flood insurance reform faces delays with other issues taking precedence. Without adequate funding available to update flood maps, Americans must compensate for outdated maps by protecting themselves as much as possible against flooding risks.
Assessing your flood risk
As many as 20 to 30 percent of flood insurance claims occur in moderate to low risk areas not considered flood zones. Unfortunately, flood damage resulting from surface water, including surges caused by storms, is not covered in standard homeowners and rental home insurance policies.
And while homeowners and renters through the NFIP can cover up to $250,000 for the structure of your home, as well as $100,000 for the contents of your home, with current federal government financial challenges, you’ll need to do all you can to prevent having to make a claim with the uncertainty of NFIP.
When meeting with your HUB broker, utilize the NFIP’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), which provides an overview flood risk assessment for communities in high, moderate to low and even undetermined risk areas and then discuss augmenting your homeowner’s policy with flood insurance. Flood insurance compensates for what your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t handle by specifically covering flood damage costs. An insurance professional who knows the market can assist you in navigating your specific flood insurance options and advise you in the areas of water damage loss, excess flood coverage, and coverage for backup of sewers and drains.
Strong summer storms and flooding are coming. Call your broker now because there’s typically a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.
As a homeowner, understand that because flood damage isn’t protected under your general homeowner’s insurance policy, you should consider a dedicated flood insurance policy with the right limits and eliminate any gaps in coverage.
Your HUB broker can review flood maps for your area and recommend coverage that can protect you from potentially devastating consequences due to flooding.