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Flood insurance is one of the types of insurance coverages many home and business owners (not to mention renters) do not find out they need until it’s too late. Far too many people mistakenly believe that their homeowners, business owners, or renters’ insurance policy covers floods. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Since floods are such widespread and all-encompassing events, flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program.
While it is critical to have this coverage for anyone living in areas potentially impacted by tropical storms, hurricanes, and heavy storms, that doesn’t leave people in areas that do not typically flood off the hook as 20 percent of flood-related claims occur outside of areas known to be at high risk for floods.
Floods can happen anywhere with little, if any notice. Then there is a 30-day waiting period that most insurance companies impose for purchasing flood insurance. This means you cannot wait until a flood event is imminent before purchasing flood insurance.
The exception to the waiting period is when you purchase a new home through a lender or refinance your home and are required to have flood insurance coverage by the lender. In these events, flood insurance becomes active once you sign the closing papers.
Aside from the usual suspects most people know about: hurricanes, tropical storms, and heavy rainfall, there are other things that cause flooding that aren’t closely associated with flooding among the general population, including:
The reality is that floods can be caused by a wide range of things and you need to be prepared to deal with the aftermath.
Flood insurance through the NFIP is different than other types of insurance products. There are coverage limits to what is available through their flood insurance program. Some insurers, though, will provide optional additional flood coverage for homes or contents that are valued greater than the NFIP limits of $250,000 for building property and $100,000 for personal property.
You must purchase both types of coverage in order to be fully covered and the NFIP offers only actual value rather than replacement value on flood policies. This means that items destroyed by the flood will be subject to depreciation.
Private flood insurance is now available from several Insurance Companies. Unlike the NFIP, full home and personal property values, and replacement cost are available. Rates and eligibility vary widely. We’ll find the best fit for your needs.