Many people think that they have to live in a “flood zone” such as coastal areas or near a river or lake to be affected by flooding. This is a reminder that flooding can occur due simply to heavy rains, dry terrain, overbuilding areas or old sewer systems that cannot handle heavier-than-normal water flow.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood insurance coverage to any homeowner regardless of their location, with higher premiums for higher risk areas.
Here are some of the top consumer misconceptions regarding flood protection noted by Mike Carmody, Senior VP of NFP, a personal lines broker operating in 50 states:
- “I don’t have to worry about flooding because I don’t live near water”. If you watch what happens in areas like Arizona, you know that flash flooding can occur when sewers cannot accommodate torrential downpours.
- “I don’t qualify for government flood insurance because my property isn’t located in a designated flood plain.” NFIP can provide coverage to any homeowner regardless of their location. NFIP maps all areas based on risk, which is determined by how many years have passed since a flood occurred in the area. You can go to the FEMA website, put in your address, and look up the flood zones. Flood insurance premiums are based on the level of risk.
- “I can’t afford flood insurance.” In NFIP’s standard and preferred areas, annual premiums can start as low as $415 a year for $250,000 / $100,000 in coverage. It can be much different in high-risk flood areas (A and V Zones), where mortgage lenders require flood coverage before buyers can secure a mortgage. Lenders will inform you if your property is in such a zone.
- “I already have homeowners’ insurance, so I’m covered if my home floods.”
The standard homeowner policy does not cover flooding. You should check with your insurance agent to discuss separate flood insurance policies and what your homeowner policy does and does not cover. A variety of insurance companies are now offering flood products and certain types of coverage such as sewer backup may be available by additional endorsement.
Remember that flood damage is not covered by your primary homeowner insurance policy. If there is an overflow of inland or tidal waters, or backup of water due to heavy rains, you must have flood insurance through the NFIP,r another company that offers it, or to help cover damage you can add a sewer backup endorsement to your homeowner policy, if available. If you have any questions about this type of coverage, just give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss it with you.