6 things you should know about
We all live in a flood zone. So it pays to have flood insurance, even in lower-risk areas.
You don't need to be near water to be flooded. And it doesn't take much water to damage your home. Just a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
About 25 to 30 percent of insurance claims for flooding come from low to moderate-risk areas, averaging about $38,000 each.
Fortunately, insurance coverage is available whether you own your home or condominium or rent it. Here are 6 things to know about flood insurance, and what to do after a flood occurs.
what to do after a flood (whether or not you have flood insurance)
Here are a few things you can do after a flood to keep your home and your family as safe as possible:
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended. Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or local news for the latest updates.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you're sure it's not contaminated.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- If you are evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- Drive only if necessary. Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
- Use flashlights in the dark. Don't use candles.
what flood insurance covers
- 1. Your home insurance policy covers many hazards - but flooding isn't one of them. You need a separate insurance policy to cover home water damage resulting from heavy rains, winter storms, and other natural occurrences.
- 2. Insurance coverage. There are two types of flood coverage: building and contents. Homeowner and condominium unit owners can buy up to $250,000 of building coverage; and up to $100,000 coverage for contents.
- 3. There are low-cost insurance policies. If you live in a low-to-moderate-risk area, there are more than 90 private insurance companies in the U.S. that offer affordable flood insurance backed by the federal government. Request online insurance quotes so that you compare home and contents insurance coverage and get the best rate.
- 4. Flood insurance rates vary. Insurance is available at varying rates for condo owners and renters, too. If you rent or own your condominium unit, it is a good idea to have both building and contents coverage. If you are a tenant, contents only coverage is available starting at $57 per year.
- 5. Don't wait for a rainy day to get home insurance. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before your home insurance goes into effect. Don't wait until a storm is brewing to consider your insurance options.
- 6. Don't rely on federal disaster assistance to cover your home's flooding damage. Before federal disaster assistance is offered, the President has to declare a major disaster. Flood insurance coverage is in effect even when a disaster isn't declared. And even then, the average award for individuals households is $4,000.
flooding and your finances
Yes, flooding affects your finances. Cleaning up a water damaged home can set you back thousands of dollars. It simply makes sense to be prepared with adequate insurance coverage.
To determine the financial impact flooding would have on your family, check out The Cost of Flooding tool at FloodSmart.gov.