Your Flood Risk

Many Americans Underestimate Their Flood Risk

About 90 percent of natural disasters in the United States include flooding. However, less than 20 percent of homeowners and renters buy flood insurance according to a research conducted for the Insurance Information Institute. According to the research, homeowners and renters underestimate their flood risks, and some people may not know if their area of residence is in a high-risk flood zone. Being in an area with a moderate or low risk is still an issue. According to III, about 20 percent of claims come from individuals who live in areas with a moderate or low flood risk.

Many homeowners and renters do not know that their personal insurance policies do not cover flooding as the water damage provision is often confused with flooding. However, there is a major difference. Water damage is less severe and is often due to leaky pipes, cracks in the roof or similar issues related to the home or components of it. Flooding happens when there is heavy rainfall that causes water to collect and rise or nearby bodies of water to swell past their banks. Damages that happen because of those floods are not covered in a typical renter's policy or a home insurance policy. 

It is important to be vigilant when buying flood insurance because there are some companies offering fake flood coverage. FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program is commonly known as one of the few reputable carriers, plus there are a few private companies as well. Most people purchase flood insurance through the NFIP. For those who wish to purchase more than $250,000 in coverage, a separate private policy is essential. The NFIP limits its policies to $250,000. Some communities are not part of the NFIP, and that insurance is not available to buy in such communities. To learn more about the NFIP's availability and local options, discuss concerns with an agent.

When buying a supplemental policy, there is a waiting period of 30 days between the time of buying the NFIP policy and the supplemental one. People who live in areas that are prone to floods or hurricanes should keep this in mind when buying their insurance. Residents of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana are especially encouraged to seek flood insurance if they have not yet purchased it, and communities along major river basins should also buy it. To learn more about risk areas and what options are available, discuss concerns with an agent.

July 10, 2017
by Scott Ligouri