Hurricane Season – Are You Prepared With Flood Insurance?
By Krista M. Farmer
Hurricane season is just around the corner, which means greater potential for flooding and/or flood damage to your home. It doesn’t matter where you live, flooding can occur almost anywhere. If you live along the coast or near a body of water, particularly, protection against and preparation for this type of disaster is necessary to ensure your finances are protected. Have you purchased flood insurance?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that flooding is America’s #1 natural disaster. From snow melts and flash flooding to tropical storms and dams that have reached capacity, the potential for flooding should always be considered, regardless of where your home is located.
With hurricane season less than a month away, its prime time to be considering flood insurance. Why should you purchase flood coverage? Well, the important fact to be aware of is that homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage or ground water damage from heavy rain. So, even if you’ve purchased a significant amount of homeowner’s insurance and your area experiences heavy flash flooding, damage to your dwelling will not be covered unless you have purchased flood insurance.
Aside from purchasing insurance…
There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of flooding or experiencing flood damage. The best way to reduce the risk of your home truly being flooded would be to avoid living near a body of water, including rivers and streams. Living in a house on top of a mountain or large hill could also do the trick. If living up in the hills isn’t for you or if you insist on living near water, however, flood insurance is your best protection.
What types of flood insurance are available?
Flood insurance is available through two different avenues – the sump pump failure/sewer backup endorsement and The National Flood Insurance Program.
The sump pump failure backup endorsement does not cover true flooding – it simply covers water seepage and runoff. While coverage will vary with each insurance company, keep in mind that this coverage only takes effect if you have a sump pump and only if it does not properly take care of the seeping water.
FEMA established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. This program only has one requirement – that you live in a community that participates in the program. This coverage is available in two packages –Emergency program and the Regular program. The programs’ distinctions are quite simple. The Emergency program is set up for houses in communities that have applied for, but have not yet been accepted into the NFIA. The Regular program is for homes that are in participating NFIA communities.
Neither the sump pump backup endorsement nor the NFIA completely cover the risk of flooding.
So what should you do?
If you’re on the fence about purchasing flood insurance, consider your options and your flood potential. If your home floods, can you afford to do without the flood insurance? While you cannot predict natural disasters, catastrophes or accidents, you can secure your finances for the future if you prepare for those events.
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