Why You Should Consider Flood Insurance
Did you know that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S.?
For those who live in Hampton Roads, the threat of flooding is a reality. Due to the fact that is has a low-lying geographic location on the Atlantic coast and has numerous other waterways throughout, much of the area is extremely susceptible to flooding. Also, the Hampton Roads region can be affected by hurricanes, tropical storms and of course heavy rains with wind, all increasing the risk of flood damage. Unfortunately, a regular home hazard insurance policy does NOT cover loss caused by these issues and you need specialized flood insurance. For those who don’t live along the Oceanfront or anywhere near the water, you should consider flood insurance due to the fact that just even a few inches of water can cause expensive structural damage to your property!
The Basics of Flood Insurance
In order to protect homeowners from major losses due to floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP, through almost 90 private insurance companies, offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters and businesses living in communities that participate in NFIP. This means that these cooperating communities (all of the cities within Hampton Roads partake) enforce specific ordinance and rules to reduce flood risks.
In addition, most mortgage lenders will require flood insurance on all homes and businesses in areas that are designated “high risk” for flooding, zones A and V. Moderate to low risk areas that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are not required to have flood insurance, although some lenders can still require it. Also, all homeowners can elect to purchase flood insurance even if its not required.
What is Covered?
Today, flood insurance covers two types of insurable property: building (covers your structure) and contents (covers your possessions). It is important to note that neither type of coverage protects the land your home is on.
Building Policies start at around $20,000 and go up to $250,000. It will cover the foundation and the following:
- Appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and dishwasher
- Shelving and cabinetry
- Electrical and Plumbing
- Debris Removal
- Permanently installed carpeting (over unfinished flooring)
- Furnaces, central air conditioning and equipment
Coverage for your contents starts at around $8,000 and goes up to $100,000. Contents Coverage will extend to the following:
- Electronic Equipment
- Carpeting not already included in your property coverage
- Portable appliances (air conditioners, dishwashers, microwaves)
- Washers and Dryers
- Certain valuables such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
Are there Any Exclusions?
Yes there are. Certain policy exclusions can be costly, so it is best to be aware as to what your policy will not cover. Flood insurance does not cover damage from the following issues:
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold
- Overflow or discharge from a sump pump
- Backups through sewers or drains
Also, covers is limited in areas below the lowest elevated floor, such as your basement, walk-out basement, crawl spaces
What Will it Cost?
Overall, the cost of flood insurance varies and many factors such as the amount of coverage purchased, location, flood zone and design and age of your structure, can impact the cost of your flood insurance premium. Also, a flood insurance agent will help assess the needs of your property and can determine if you qualify for any discount.