Flood: The More You Know, the Better
Another week has past and all over the world we are seeing an increase in Rain, storms and most importantly - flooding. Now is the time you should be questioning "Do I need to buy flood insurance?" Many homeowners struggle with this question. Others may know they have to buy this specialty policy but aren't sure what it will cover and how to ensure they have the right levels of coverage. No matter which category you find yourself in, discover a few answers to important questions you may have.
Why Do You Need Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is generally necessary as a separate policy because it's not part of standard home insurance policies. Outside, natural flooding is a serious risk to your home and your finances, but you can't count on protection through other means.
In addition, your local region may require this coverage if you live or own property in certain areas prone to flooding. Finally, many mortgage companies mandate that the borrower buy additional flood coverage to qualify for a loan.
Should You Buy Non-Mandatory Flood Insurance?
What if you aren't required to buy flood insurance? Do you still need it? The answer is likely, yes. First, you can access FEMA flood maps to determine the level of risk in your area. However, keep in mind that flood maps aren't updated annually, so they may not reflect changes over time, such as new neighborhoods.
Even if your property isn't in a high-risk location, flooding can — and does — still occur in every U.S. state. Their risk levels can also change without most homeowners being aware. Most homeowners, then, may want to seriously consider affordable flood insurance.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance generally covers the structure of the home in the event of flooding. This includes things like the foundation, walls, flooring, appliances, plumbing, and electrical systems. You may choose to purchase an additional contents insurance policy that adds coverage for your personal belongings and items not permanently attached to the house.
Additionally, a policy may have important elements like debris removal and the indirect damage that could happen as a result of a covered flood event.
What Doesn't Flood Insurance Cover?
Be sure you understand what is not covered by your particular policy. These exclusions may vary, but one of the most common is a broken pipe or backed-up sewer. Flood insurance is designed to cover natural sources of flooding, like rain or melting snow. Broken pipes and flooded sewers may not be a covered peril — in which case, you should ensure appropriate homeowners coverage.
Other standard exclusions include mold and moisture damage not stemming from a covered flood, mudslides, property outside your covered home, loss of use of the home, and vehicles. When you understand these exclusions, you can generally purchase other policies or riders that reduce your particular risks.
Where Can You Buy Flood Insurance?
You have two ways to buy flood coverage. The first and most common is through the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP offers flood insurance through private companies, but these policies all have similar features and costs. It's designed to keep costs low so that homeowners can purchase the protection they need.
Today's homeowners also increasingly have the option to buy private flood insurance. This market-based insurance varies widely in terms of cost and coverage features. It may be less expensive than federally based insurance, but it may not. Before buying any particular policy, each owner should compare and contrast both choices.
Where Should You Start?
Flood insurance can be a complicated subject. To help you decide if you need it, how much coverage to buy, and what special situations may exist in your property, start by meeting with an experienced insurance agent in your state.
The Philadelphia Contributionship has aided home and business owners since 1752. Call us today to get answers to your flood insurance and home insurance questions and start drafting the right insurance umbrella to keep your home, family, and finances safe.