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Some 90% of US natural disasters involve flooding, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and 20% of all flood claims are filed in low- or moderate-risk areas. Your standard homeowners or renters policy won’t cover flooding, but you have two options when buying a separate policy.
Coverage can be broken down into two types, which can be purchased together or separately.
Parts of your home damaged by flood that could be covered by building flood insurance include:
As with any type of insurance exclusions apply, including:
You can get flood insurance coverage through a program managed by FEMA or through a private insurer.
Also called FEMA flood insurance, flood insurance offered through the NFIP is backed by the federal government and offered at low rates to property owners, renters and businesses.
The NFIP can afford to offer lower rates because it also encourages communities to adopt regulations for managing floodplains and other flood-mitigation strategies.
The cost of NFIP flood insurance has a base rate of $108 as of October 2019 for residential buildings in an area with low to moderate flood risk. Keep in mind the base rate doesn’t include surcharges and additional costs based on your house’s structure, exact location, elevation and other risk factors.
This option is ideal because most homeowners are guaranteed coverage. But you’ll face maximums of $250,000 for building coverage and $100,000 for contents coverage.
Policies are available through insurers that aren’t backed by the federal government, though rates are rarely lower than those offered by the NFIP.
Some insurers offer policies that kick in after you’ve expended your NFIP insurance for those who need higher coverage. This excess flood insurance is ideal for homes worth more than $250,000, since the NFIP coverage sets low maximums.
Because the private market is small and not competitive, your premium can easily cost several thousand dollars. However, consider comparing prices if you live in a low-risk flood zone, where you might find more competitive premiums.
You can get private flood insurance backed by the government or go directly through NFIP for flood insurance.
Getting flood insurance is a simple process that could save you thousands in damage expenses. Note that there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage takes effect, so consider shopping well before spring flooding season.
Susan’s home of more than 20 years was hit with 10 inches of flooding during Hurricane Harvey. Flooring, walls, cabinets and personal belongings were damaged, with costs to repair reaching $100,000.
Because Susan held a $250,000 policy with $100,000 for personal contents, Susan paid only her deductibles — $2,000 and $1,000 respectively — to repair her home and replace her belongings.
You can save on your policy with flood prevention, protection and mitigation:
Keep the right people in the know about your home’s damage after a flood:
You’ll probably have to pay for damages out of pocket, unless you can prove any of the damage was caused by a covered event. For example, say a tree fell on your roof during the flood. You may be covered for roof damage depending on how your policy
You may also be able to get a federal disaster recovery loan. The government sometimes offers these no or low-interest loans to communities to help with recovery.
Storms are one of the main ways that flooding occurs. By preparing for storm season, you can protect your home from excessive damage.
Floods are common weather-related natural disasters that can become dangerous fast. Protect your home with flood insurance to stay afloat with coverage for floors, walls, cabinets and other damages not covered by your homeowners insurance.
Get started by comparing insurance companies to find an agent or insurer that offers this important protection.
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