What is a flood?
A flood is a surplus of mud or water on land that’s usually dry. According to the NFIP, floods are a temporary and general condition of complete or partial inundation of 2 or more acres of (usually) dry land area, or of at least 2 properties (of which at least one is the property of the policy holder) from:
2. Fast and uncommon runoff or accumulation of surface waters from various sources.
3. Overflow of tidal or inland waters; or
4. Subsidence or collapse of land along the shore of bodies of water or lakes as a result of undermining or erosion, generated by currents or waves of water that exceed estimated cyclical levels.
Even though floods are by far the most widespread natural disaster in the US, standard tenants and homeowners policies do not cover the damages floods cause to homeowners. Those who would like to be covered for their losses need to consider getting a new and separate policy that is generally issued through the NFIP and is available to businesses, renters and of course, homeowners.
Individuals can buy flood insurance and benefit from coverage of up to 250 thousand dollars. A regular flood policy covers debris cleanup, floor surfaces, AC, water heater, but also flood damage to the structure to the building and furnace.
A standard flood policy won’t cover the contents of your property, meaning that you need to consider getting separate coverage for that. For an extra premium though, you can buy flood coverage for up to 100 thousand dollars of damage to your home’s contents.
It’s important to bear in mind that coverage for ground level enclosures, crawlspaces and basements on elevated properties is limited. Therefore, if you have a home that features such spaces, you may want to talk to your insurance agent to learn more about the potential restrictions your coverage may have.
Your basic renters insurance doesn’t include flood coverage. Because of that, you need to speak to your insurance agent about your potential flooding risks and see if you require extra coverage for your personal belongings.
Flood insurance policies can offer coverage of up to 500 thousand dollars on non residential properties and their contents.
What’s The Cost Of Flood Insurance?
Based on information from FEMA, the average amount of money homeowners spend towards flood coverage per year is around 500 dollars.
Flood insurance premiums will greatly range in cost based on your deductible, the kind of coverage you require, the coverage amount you purchase and finally, your risk level for a flood loss.
How Do I Purchase Flood Insurance?
Regardless if your property or business sits on a floodplain, you can still buy flood insurance for it. Make sure to get in touch with your insurance company or agent to learn more about whether your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If you want, you can also visit www.floodsmart.gov to learn more about your risk of getting flooded.
Plan Ahead: Flood Insurance has a Waiting Period
Planning ahead is essential when it comes to purchasing flood insurance. In general, flood insurance policies won’t go into effect until thirty days after you bought your desired policy.
What Do I Have To Do If My Property Is Damaged By A Flood?
If you’re properly insured, then you should start by filing a claim with your insurance company, broker or agent. To learn how to file a claim, please check out our Disaster and Flood Resource Center. After you file the claim, an adjuster will be sent out by the insurance company to inspect the damages and estimate whether your policy covers them or not.
In the event a federal disaster declaration will be issued for the flood, you should know that it’s also possible to apply to Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster assistance, regardless if you’re insured or not.
Be sure to make an accurate inventory of your home, including taking video and photos of it, your belongings, serial numbers, receipts and so on. You should also consider adding insurance info to your inventory data (such as your insurance agent’s name, contact info, policy numbers, etc). You may be able to get a sample inventory from your insurance provider to get you started.
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Learn about the National Flood Insurance Policy Changes made April, 2016