Do You Need Flood Insurance?
Flooding can occur anywhere and at any time of the year. Even if you do not live near a body of water, you could still be at risk. Hurricanes strike large portions of the country every year or a large rainstorm could flood your basement. A blizzard could even dump a foot or more of snow, and when that snow melts, the water will need to go somewhere and could flood your home.
Even a relatively small amount of water can cause significant damage. Just a few inches can be enough to flood your basement and damage your house’s foundation. Water can damage hardwood floors, carpet, furniture, electronics and other possessions. The costs can easily total several thousand dollars.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flood Damage?
Many people mistakenly believe that homeowners insurance covers flood damage. That is generally not true. In most circumstances, you will only be covered for flood damage if you purchase a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The program is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Most cities and towns participate in the NFIP. You can check online to find out if your community participates. You can also purchase a policy that is sold and administered by a private insurance company through an insurance agent.
Don’t wait until a major storm is in the forecast to purchase flood insurance. Policies typically do not take effect for 30 days after they’re signed. You need to plan ahead and purchase flood insurance before storm season begins.
Cost of Flood Insurance
The price of flood insurance varies depending on several factors. One is the level of flooding risk in your community. If you live close to a body of water, your rates will be higher than those located in a low-risk area. The cost of the policy will depend on whether you insure just the house or also choose to include its contents in your policy.
When Is It Required?
In some cases, you may be required to purchase flood insurance. If you have a mortgage through a lender that is federally regulated or insured and you live in a high-risk area, your lender will require you to obtain flood insurance. A lender will probably not require flood insurance if you live in a low-risk area, but some lenders do still require homeowners to purchase coverage.
Protect Yourself from Flood Damage
Flooding is more common in some areas than others, but it’s a possibility everywhere. Even if you do not live in a high-risk area, you could still be in danger. Just a few inches of water could cause major structural damage to your house and destroy your property. Purchasing flood insurance can help you protect your home and possessions in the event of a disaster.