Natural disasters, such as flooding, are more common than people think. While we all think that disasters happen somewhere else and hope we are safe, the reality is, no location can be considered a no-risk zone. Adding onto that, as climate is becoming more unpredictable, risks are also changing: a zone that might have been considered low-risk before, could now be moderate- or even high-risk.
It is probably better to be slightly overprepared than underprepared, especially for the most common natural disaster out there: flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 90% of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve floods. Moreover, floods frequently occur in low- to moderate-risk areas. This is why you should almost always get flood insurance.
Although it is common to think that homeowners, condo, renters, or business insurance also covers damage caused by a flood, this is often not the case. Normally, flood insurance needs to be bought separately. Check with your insurance provider whether your existing policies cover flood or not.
Flooding caused by hurricanes, rainfall, snowmelt, tidal surges, and other events.
With the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy, you can be covered for both damage to the building and loss of your furniture and other possessions. The NFIP was established by the Federal government and is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance can be purchased from the NFIP directly, as well as through insurance companies.
As authorized by the Congress, NFIP has set in place maximum limits of coverage:
However, some insurance providers allow you to purchase excess insurance that exceeds the limits of the NFIP policy.
Flood insurance for the building and its contents are sold separately. Coverage for personal property is only available on an actual cash value basis which takes into account depreciation – that means that your possessions will be reimbursed based on their value at the time of the flooding, not their purchase.
Cars damaged by flooding are typically covered by the comprehensive coverage of a standard auto insurance policy.
Purchasing flood insurance after you get a flooding warning will probably be too late, especially since some floods happen without a warning. It can take up to 30 days for flood insurance to become active. Thus, the sooner you purchase flood insurance, the better protected you will be once a flood occurs.
Just like all other insurance policies, flood insurance is based upon a range of factors that are used to estimate your risk. You can use these factors to pay less on your flood insurance each year.
The more steps you take to mitigate a flood, the lower your premiums are. Plus, the more protected you will be in the first place. Mitigation strategies include:
Elevating one’s property or relocating are usually costly and time-consuming, thus not something people can consider until they need to rebuild their house. NFIP provides funding up to $30,000 to help elevate or relocate some properties that need help after a flood. These are known as Increased Cost of Compliance grants.
Increase Your Deductibles
By increasing your deductibles, you naturally decrease your premiums. However, ensure you have enough money saved up to be able to pay the deductible once a flood strikes.
Acquire an Elevation Certificate
Elevation certificates prove that your building’s elevation is sufficient during a major flood in your area. If you meet the requirements, you can reduce your costs even in a high-risk area.
Your Community Can Receive a Discount
Communities enrolled in the Community Rating System may receive discounts if they exceed the minimum program requirements for lowering the risk of flooding.
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