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Flood insurance: Storm claims Q&A, part 3

Mar 21 2019


When a heavy rain storm or hurricane hits, there can be severe damage. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy caused major flood devastation up and down the East Coast. The flooding caused by Irene in Vermont and Western Massachusetts caused devastation that hadn't been seen in recent history. Lack of freqency doesn't mean that it can't happen, and you need to be prepared. On top of that, the rains that followed about a week after the hurricane caused even more damage from Pennsylvania to Maryland. These were “100 year floods” that don’t happen frequently, which also can make it easier for some to rationalize why they might not need to have protection since it’s not that common.

Unfortunately, this is exactly why you need protection. Many people underestimate the potential for flooding. When you think of flooding, you may think strictly of rivers or bodies of water. But, did you know that:

  • Homeowners are 4 times more likely to sustain a loss from a flood than a fire.
  • 25 percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low- to moderate-risk areas.
Here are some common questions that we get about floods:
Q. Does my homeowner, condo or renter policy cover floods?
A. No. It is specifically excluded from these policies. You must purchase separate flood insurance. Flood insurance coverage is limited. Often the amount you can purchase is less than the amount you have purchased under your home insurance; however, in a flood situation, some coverage is better than no coverage.   
Q. What does flood insurance cover?
A. It covers physical damage to your property and possessions. However, the coverage is more limited than the protection provided under your homeowner policy, so it’s important to understand the differences. Read the National Flood Insurance Program Summary of Coverage for more information.
Q. How much does flood insurance cost?
A. The cost of coverage is controlled by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) implemented by FEMA. The premium cost will vary depending on your property location and the structure. It also depends on flood zone based on federal flood maps and several other factors. If you live in a low-to-moderate risk area, you can receive preferred rates. Your premium will also be lower if you choose a higher deductible. Rates are set by the NFIP and are the same regardless of where your purchase insurance.
I won’t go into more details about flood insurance because you can learn more by checking out our flood insurance page. The NFIP website also provides a wealth of information, www.floodsmart.gov. If you don’t have flood insurance but think that there are potential flood risks, even if low, I highly encourage you to get more information and a quote. You may be surprised at how affordable it can be.
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