Flood Insurance and Hurricane Season

Kathryn PaviaGeneral Insurance Tips

Flood Insurance-What You Need to Know

You’ve probably heard this horror story before — someone loses a home due to a flood and learns after the fact that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. With hurricane season in full swing and Irma threatening the SC coast, many of us have questions regarding flood insurance. Hurricane season isn’t over until the end of November so this may not be the last threat for hurricane damage and flooding.  At Advisors Insurance Agency, we want to educate you regarding the risks you may face so you can determine what insurance coverage is appropriate.

Because very few companies offer flood insurance, the U.S. government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. Lenders may require this flood insurance in order to obtain a mortgage in areas at high risk of flooding.

These flood insurance policies are operated by the federal government, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Currently, FEMA hires insurance agencies to service the policies, but the federal government determines the coverage, premiums, etc.

You might consider looking into a policy for peace of mind, even if you don’t live in a high risk flood zone. According to the NFIP, nearly 25% of the program’s claims occur in moderate- to low-risk areas.

Advisors Insurance Agency wants to make sure you are well informed before you make any major decisions regarding insurance policies.  Please take some time to continue reading this article, use the suggested resources, and most importantly, call us with any and all questions!

Is flood insurance available in my area?

To participate in the NFIP, a community must adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance with rules regarding construction in certain flood-prone areas. In exchange, the government makes flood insurance available within that community. We’re happy to help you find out if you’re eligible for flood insurance. Just give us a call at 864-509-0009. You can also visit https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.

What does it cover?

The NFIP provides coverage for both the structure and its contents. Coverage for contents is optional in some cases. We suggest that you call to discuss other coverage for your personal property.

Keep in mind that you typically can’t purchase flood insurance and have it take effect the next day. There is usually a 30-day waiting period. (Exceptions to this rule apply, however, particularly when the insurance is required by a lender and is purchased during the process of securing a mortgage.)

What doesn’t it cover?

Generally, government-issued flood insurance will not cover the following: Buildings entirely over water or principally below ground, gas and liquid storage tanks, animals, aircraft, wharves, piers, bulkheads, growing crops, shrubbery, land, roads, machinery or equipment in the open and most motor vehicles.

How much does it cost?

As with all insurance policies, the cost of flood insurance varies depending on your situation. If your home or business is in a high-risk area, such as a “special flood hazard area,” your premium naturally will be higher than those in low- or moderate-risk zones. Premiums are based on how old the building is, how many floors it has, the location of its contents, your deductible and more. Renters insurance is typically less expensive, as renters generally insure their belongings and not the building.

Important Take-Aways

  • Homeowners policies do not cover floods. To get coverage from flooding outside your home you will need a separate flood policy. If you live in a rated flood plain, your mortgage company will require you to get a flood insurance policy.
  • Not all water damage is the same. There’s flooding from inside the home and flooding from outside the home.  If a thunderstorm causes roof damage, your home owners policy can cover that. However, flooding from a lake or river causing you to take a canoe from point A to point B would only be covered by a flood policy.
  • Flood plains change.  If you were not in a flood plain a few years ago – you may be now. You can check the status of your property by inputting your address at this website: https://msc.fema.gov/portal.  Most towns and cities provide this information as well.  For example, if you live in Greenville County, you can enter your address at this site: http://www.greenvillecounty.org/CodesEnforcement/floodplain.aspx
  • Does your auto policy have comprehensive coverage? If so, your vehicle is protected from flooding.

Where can I find more information?

As always, we are happy to help you determine your insurance needs. Stop by our office, send us an email, or give us a call at 864-509-0009. The NFIP website, at http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program, has plenty of answers as well.

 

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