Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are You Covered For Flood Damage?

Cows walking in flooded waters after Hurricane...Image via WikipediaHurricane Irene has finished it's work and is out to sea. In it's path of destruction we see not only damage caused by high wind but by flooding. Is it me or over the last decade has weather events resulted in more flooding than ever. Where I live we are in the middle of the hurricane season. Not since Katrina have we seen any visits by hurricanes. But hurricane season comes every year and more than four out of every five natural disasters nationwide involve flooding. Yet according to the Insurance Information Institute, less than a fifth of U.S. homeowners have a flood insurance policy that protects their property and belongings.

People tend to underestimate the risk of flooding but 90% of all natural disasters in the country involve flooding. During the first 6 months of 2011, the federal government declared 28 major flood disasters, putting it ahead of the pace of 2010, when there were only 50 for the entire year.

Most people think they are covered for flood damage by their homeowners insurance policy. This is not true in the past 10 years there has been $2.7 billion dollars in flood damage to American homes, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

How Much does a Flood Insurance policy cost?

The average flood insurance policy in 2010 was $594 a year for $220,577 worth of coverage. The average flood insurance claim was $26,067 in 2010. To see if your home is at risk of being affected by a flood go to www.floodsmart.gov.

Do I need a Flood Insurance policy if I am not in a designated flood zone?

There are designated flood zones and there are Special Flood Hazard Areas. If you are in a low risk area, you still are at some risk. Flood insurance covers direct physical losses resulting from heavy or prolonged rain, melting snow, blocked storm drainage systems and levee dam failures. You just don't have to live in a flood plain to be affected by flood damage.

My home is in a designated flood area and I carry flood insurance, which is requires by my mortgage lender. I am glad I have it, even though where I live has never experienced a flood. I am also prepared for wind damage with hurricane shutters even though we went through Hurricane Andrew and suffered no damage. It just makes sense to be prepared with the proper flood insurance


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