American Option Flood Insurance

 

Flooding is the most common of all natural hazards; yet, many homeowners go

without flood insurance each year. Whether you are surrounded by a large body

of water or simply have a river near your town, flood insurance helps protect

your personal belongings and home against the devastation of flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that,

on average, flooding causes more than two billion dollars of damage each year.

In recent years, the hurricanes affecting the Gulf Coast states and the flash

floods affecting the Midwest and Central Plain states have caused well over one

hundred billion dollars in damage. Whether it’s eight feet of water or even just a

few inches, flooding can quickly render a home uninhabitable and destroy a

lifetime of possessions. Given the relatively low cost of flood insurance, it’s a

common-sense decision for any homeowner.

 

Do I have to buy flood insurance?

If your home lies in a special flood hazard area (SFHA), most mortgage

companies will require you to carry a flood policy. If you don’t live in a special

flood hazard area, then the coverage is usually optional. Just because your

house wasn’t in a flood zone when you bought it doesn’t mean it will never be

in a flood zone. Flood zones are evaluated yearly, and flood zone designations

may change over time.

Even if you aren’t required to carry a flood policy, your home and belongings

could still be at risk. Just because you don’t have a beach in your back yard

doesn’t mean that you’re free from the risk of flood. Heavy rains, swollen

streams, and other weather and environmental fluctuations frequently cause

flooding to occur in areas not previously thought to be at-risk for flooding.

 

Coverage

“Won’t my homeowner’s insurance cover flooding?” Standard homeowner’s

insurance policies do not cover damages caused by flooding. We have all seen

the damages caused by floods in different states over the last several years.

The Federal Government has set up the National Flood Insurance Program

(NFIP). The NFIP creates a map of the country and divides each area into

different “risk zones”. From there, the rates and coverages are formed. We

recommend that you enter your home’s address into their site and see where it

lies.

www.floodsmart.gov

 

Your flood policy will help cover the structure of your home and personal

belongings. Regular water damage differs from the coverage you’ll enjoy under

a flood policy. Most policies require a 30-day waiting period, unless it is a new

purchase, so it’s essential to plan ahead. Many people will call about flood

insurance once they see a hurricane off the coast or a river’s waters rising, but

by then it’s too late.

 

Zones and flood insurance prices

Your risk zone will dictate the price of your policy. For instance, if you live in a

Preferred Risk Zone (B/C/X), a policy usually isn’t required and will be less

expensive. If you live in a Standard Zone or SFHA (A/V), you would have a 1%

chance of annual flooding or a 26% chance over a 30-year period and your price

will be higher. There is also the Undetermined Zone (D) that hasn’t been

analyzed, but risk still remains and is reflected in the price.

 

More on the costs of flooding:

Below is from the NFIP website and can help for illustration purposes.

http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flooding_flood_risks/

the_cost_of_flooding.jsp

 

Where should I start?

Give us a call at 888-985-4032, and we’ll outline your options and help you

determine the best coverage for your needs. Flood insurance is a far too often

overlooked product. You have options.