Don’t Be Unprepared: A Homeowner’s Guide to Flood Insurance
If you’ve followed recent news about Yellowstone, you may have realized that floods are one of the most devastating natural disasters to exist. However, they also happen to be the most common, and occur far more often than people realize. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there are approximately 500 flood-related events in the U.S. every year. What’s more, major floods can cause billions of dollars in damage and destroy countless homes, so it’s important to know whether you live in an area that’s at risk of flooding and what steps you can take to protect your home.
But even if you don’t live in an area with an especially high risk of flooding, it’s important to make sure you have considered flood coverage on your home insurance policy before disaster strikes. If you need it, flood damage can be surprisingly extensive and hard to cover out-of-pocket, so there’s no sense in taking unnecessary risks when you don’t have to.
What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is a type of insurance coverage that helps protect your home from damage caused by flooding. Most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so it’s important to purchase separate flood insurance if you live in an area at risk of flooding, or you suspect that a singular flood in your area will damage your home or other property.
What does flood insurance cover?
Flood insurance is vital for homeowners in flood-prone areas, but many people don’t know what their policy covers. Generally, there are two types of insurance that can protect you against this danger: building and contents insurance policies. Building insurance will cover any damages caused by flooding during a storm event, including damages to your home itself as well as any fixtures inside it (such as plumbing). Contents insurance will cover anything that was damaged by water or ruined due to wet conditions during the event (like clothing).
When pricing out a policy, insurance companies consider your risk level—the higher your risk level, the more expensive the policy will be. That means if you live in a flood plain, or your property has a long history of flooding during big weather events, you may find it to be quite expensive.
How do I know if I need flood insurance?
As a homeowner, you should always be prepared for the worst, and in some cases, that means having insurance to cover you in case of a flood. But how do you know if you need flood insurance?
A homeowner will likely know they need to purchase a policy when they see changes in their neighborhood that could indicate an increased likelihood of flooding, or if they notice that their own property has flooded previously. For example, if a water pipe broke upstream and water levels started rising or there was an increase in river levels or heavy rain storms near their home, then they may have some indicators that they should purchase this type of coverage.
More generally, there are two important questions to ask yourself before purchasing a flood policy.
- Is your home at risk for flooding?
- What would happen if it did flood? How much money would I lose?
If either of these questions can’t be answered with a positive and reliable outcome, then flood insurance may be something you should consider.
What policies are available?
There are two standard types of flood insurance available for homeowners: the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private flood insurance. Depending on the level of risk, homeowners may consider either or both of these options for coverage.
The NFIP is a government-backed program that is available through participating insurance companies. NFIP policies are available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and have standard coverage limits. NFIP insurance may be required if you have a government-backed loan for your mortgage.
Private flood insurance is offered by some insurance companies and may provide additional coverage not available through the NFIP. You can get this type of insurance through a variety of different insurers, who will offer a variety of flexible coverage options. Private insurance is a great way to cover all types of risk for any type of home.
If you’re concerned about flooding at your residence, or any other type of coverage to protect it, we would love to chat with you further. Whatever your needs, we at Penny Insurance are here to protect what you hold dear. If you’d like to schedule a consultation or get a quote, please contact us and let us know.