Remember the old saying "April showers, bring May flowers?" Well, sometimes in Florida, those April showers can mean big time flooding, which means if you don't already have flood insurance, you definitely need it. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flooding is the most costly and common natural disaster in the country, and unfortunately, basic homeowners' and renters insurance does not cover flooding.
More than 20% of flood claims are made by properties located outside an area that has been known for flooding. Every homeowner buys insurance to protect their home and valuables, but what about flood insurance? What exactly is flood insurance, and do you really need it? What is the right fit and what is it worth? Let's look at some of these answers.
1. What is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is a specific type of insurance that covers flooding damage to your property. The federal government provides it through the National Flood Insurance Program. Private insurance agents, like the one who sold your homeowners policy can secure that type of policy for you too. Flood insurance does not cover water damage due to burst pipes, or overflowing washing machines - your basic homeowners' policy will suffice for that.
Many people assume that flood insurance is unnecessary if the property isn't low-lying and not on the shoreline. But regardless of if your house sits right along the beach doesn't mean your need for flood insurance isn't especially great in Florida. Hurricanes and heavy rain can also cause flooding even without the help of the ocean waves. It is also not well known that flooding can occur when heavy rains follow wildfires, which FEMA reports that 20% are from flood-prone areas.
2. Are Renters Required to Have Flood Insurance?
Water damage can vary from one person to another. The building owner's insurance will cover you if a pipe burst into your apartment building, causing water damage to your personal property, furniture, and rugs. In the rare case they weren't, your renter’s policy would typically cover what flood insurance would. However, only a flood-specific policy will cover water damage caused by a hurricane.
Basic renters insurance does not cover flooding, just like with homeowners insurance, a separate flood insurance policy would be needed. It might seem that you would be covered for flooding if your rental property owner has coverage. However, that coverage would only protect the property of the owner and not your personal belongings. Renters who want to be compensated in case of flooding should get their own flood insurance.
3. Are There Ways to Prevent Flooding?
Although we cannot stop the rains or flood waters coming down, there are things you can do that will help protect your home from flooding and damage. To help water properly drain from your house, you can install an underground drainage system.
This is typically a simple DIY project that can cost less than $1,000. However, it can take some time if you do all of the digging yourself. You can also install drain pipes that run into a rain garden or creek bed, and to keep your basement dry you can install both a sump pump and a basement drainage system.
If you have done all you can to prepare for heavy rainy seasons but flood waters are approaching, there are some things you can do to prepare your home for flooding, either way, flood insurance is always the best case scenario to fully protect your home and belongings.
4. Are You a Flood Insurance Customer?
Do you believe you will need flood insurance now that you are aware of what can cause flooding and how it can happen anywhere? The short answer for Florida residence is yes, because you live in a high-risk area.
The Flood Disaster Protection Act of '73 and the Flood Insurance Reform Act of '94 require federally-regulated mortgage lenders to purchase flood insurance for mortgaged properties located in high-risk areas. Some lenders will require you to have flood insurance even if your property is not located in high-risk areas.
Many people are unaware that their homeowners insurance does not cover flooding and that they would need a separate flood insurance policy. Flood insurance is an additional policy from your home or renters insurance and according to a recent survey, 44 percent of Americans believed that they were covered for weather-related flooding, while only 15% reported having purchased flood insurance.
You can learn more about the full offerings that Richard Dean Insurance provides for flood insurance by clicking here, but it's best to give us a call and talk through your options with an agent.
You also can have an assessment done of your current policy to will help determine if your flood insurance covers everything you need or if more coverage is right to you. FEMA estimates that one inch of water can cause damages to your home worth $25,000. This is not to mention the loss of valuables, heartache, and health risks that come with not having flood insurance. .