Have you ever actually read the fine print on your homeowners’ insurance policy? With the prevalence of unpredictable weather brought on by climate change, it is not unlikely to find yourself amid a flash flood. But, does your policy cover such damages?
Most policies do not, unless you live in a FEMA-designated flood hazard area, like New Orleans, where it is required. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy flood insurance voluntarily. Here are three good reasons to consider this:
Being Outside a Designated Flood Zone Means Nothing
FEMA’s flood zoning was estimated with the best intentions, but flooding can occur anywhere since these models become outdated. As a matter of fact, FEMA states that 20% of flood insurance claims annually are outside the designated flood zones.
While these maps are modeled on past conditions, no one can predict the future. Not only is the climate changing, but the landscape often does, too. For example, if an area has seen substantial redevelopment, the runoff may increase, and extra water will be left with nowhere to drain.
Water Damage is Usually Devastating
Did you know that the most expensive natural disasters in the United States are floods? FEMA says that they average over $8 billion in damages each year. This is not just accounting for catastrophes like Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, either. Even one inch of water in your home can cause nearly $30,000 in destruction. You would be forced to come up with that sum out of your pocket without flood coverage.
Voluntary Flood Coverage is Quite Affordable
If you do not live in a traditional flood zone as depicted by FEMA, your lower hazard will be reflected in your cost. You can go through the same agent that you purchased your homeowners’ insurance policy from. They may be able to bundle the flood insurance with your regular premiums for a reasonable rate. As such, you will more than likely pay less than $60 a month.
In conclusion, it is probably best to ask your current insurance agent about flood insurance and what package is right for you. You should ask about potential waiting periods, how much coverage you will need, and what it will cover. If your agent does not offer flood insurance, you won’t have to worry. Many companies will offer a supplemental policy without asking you to drop your current insurer.