“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
Samuel Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
With natural weather events happening regularly, the national news is filled with leading stories about catastrophic flooding. While destroying livelihood and property, these floods make us wonder, “How will those affected rebuild their lives?” The answer resides in yet another question — Do they have flood insurance?
What is Flood Insurance?
Well, the name says it all. It’s specific insurance to pay for damage caused by a flood.
Flood damage is not covered under most regular homeowner’s policies. But, if you live in an area deemed high risk for flooding and are paying a mortgage, you are usually required by your lender to purchase separate flood insurance. Let’s be clear, flood damage is NOT COVERED by your standard homeowner’s policy.
Insurance companies use topographical maps showing the shape and contour of the land to designate high risk areas. These areas are determined to be “lowlands, floodplains, and floodways” that are by elevation and shape the land susceptible to flood waters. Land in valleys, along rivers or creeks, on the sides of hills are all in the path of flooding waters. They are the areas you think when you hear your radio or television announce “Flash flood warnings in effect. Stay out of low-lying areas and roadways prone to flooding.”
And, even if you don’t live in an area prone to floods where flood insurance isn’t required by your lender, flooding can happen to you. Statistically, according to The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) over 40 percent of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims in the four year period during the last decade came from outside of high risk flood areas. These claims accounted for 33 percent of federal disaster assistance.
Your lender may require you to purchase flood insurance from a private flood insurer or and insurer who distributes flood insurance through the NFIP.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) low risk does not mean no risk. Any home can be flooded. They note that even just one inch of water in your home can cause $25,000 in damage. Having flood insurance can help you recover from that loss. FEMA wants you to remember that flooding can happen to you regardless of where you live. “Flooding can happen anywhere at any time. Poor drainage systems, summer storms, melting snow, neighborhood construction, and broken water mains can all result in flooding.” (fema.gov)
If you need more details about flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program, call our office: