In High Water: No flood insurance can cost you
Forty-three percent of homeowners incorrectly believe damage from heavy rain flooding is covered under their standard insurance policy. This is according to figures recently released by Insurance Information Institute(III). According to the group, “most homeowners insurance includes coverage for damage caused by wind-driven rain, burst pipes and water leaking into your house because of a roofline ice dam. But, not by flood.”
The 2017 hurricane season was the busiest since 2005. Last year, 10 of the 17 named storms reached hurricane strength with winds of at least 74 mph, according to III. Experts predict 2018 will be busier than normal for hurricane activity as well.
Hurricane season starts in June. Are you ready?
Irma and Harvey, a recap
Last year, flooding from hurricanes Irma and Harvey unleashed unprecedented destruction across the southern U.S. states. In their wake, hundreds of homeowners were left footing the bill due to a lack of flood insurance. NOAA reports Hurricane Harvey had total costs estimated at $125 billion and Irma at $50 billion. Altogether, 2017 storms caused a record-breaking cumulative cost of $306.2 billion.
Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast last August, lingering for days, and dropping record levels of rain over the Lone Star state. While winds tore through the beach towns of Rockport and Corpus Christi, much of the flood damage occurred in Houston as the storm slowly moved upward along the Texas coast. It was estimated that 80% of homeowners in the Houston area that were impacted by flooding did not have flood insurance. Most of these homeowners were not in designated flood zones and weren’t required to have flood insurance.
Nearly 135,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey flooding.
(Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Harvey)
Closer to Home
Just days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Hurricane Irma began its path of destruction across the Caribbean islands, Cuba, and South Florida early September. Irma became a force to be reckoned with, causing flooding through Jacksonville, Charleston, and Savannah despite being downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm surge Irma caused left homeowners throughout the Southeast devastated.
Hurricane Irma caused residential flooding losses estimated at $25-$38 billion, according to Corelogic. “An estimated 80 percent of flood damage to residential properties from Hurricane Irma is not covered by any flood insurance,” according to the analytics firm.
We’re seeing a theme here.
Are You Covered?
Flood insurance is separate from your homeowner’s insurance policy. Coverage is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP). Floods are the nation’s most common natural disaster, according to Flood Smart by FEMA. “The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions. To increase coverage, you can add excess flood insurance available from private insurers.
Your NFIP flood insurance policy doesn’t differ from company to company or agent to agent. From the FEMA website, the amount you pay is based on several factors such as:
- Year of building construction
- Building occupancy
- Number of floors
- Location of its contents
- Flood risk (based on flood zone)
- Location of the floor in relation to the Base Flood Elevationon the flood map
- Deductible and amount of building and contents coverage
The NFIP offers the Preferred Risk Policy, a lower cost option for homes and apartments in low to moderate flood risk areas. For more information on determining costs including ways to lower them, visit FEMA’s NFIP website.
Don’t Risk It
Protect your family, home, and wallet with a flood insurance policy. The risk of flooding for Charleston residents is very real. The monthly costs far outweigh the devastating costs of losing a home after a natural disaster.
Navigating the world of insurance policies can be overwhelming. We can help simplify the process. Speak with one of our agents today and we will get you set up with an option that works to protect your budget, home, and family.