Only 20 percent of Americans who live in flood zones actually have flood insurance. Insurance is one of the most important factors of hurricane preparedness.
But it is not just the folks who live in designated flood zones who may need these policies. Nearly 30 percent of National Flood Insurance Program claims are for structures outside of identified flood plains.
Everyone is vulnerable to floods. Severe snow, overflowing rivers, heavy rains, levy failures. There are lots of flooding factors.
Worters said 90 percent of natural disasters result in flooding.
This is not the type of coverage you can simply run out, purchase and have it kick in the moment you sign the papers.
There’s a 30-day waiting period. So, if you don’t have flood insurance now, sign up for it immediately because if there is a flood, a moratorium goes into effect until the waters recede.
Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. And there is no such thing as a ”hurricane policy.”
You may want to consider wind insurance. Depending on where you live, you may have to go through the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association to purchase a policy instead of using a private company.
Check your policy because wind damage may be covered under your homeowners insurance.
The average cost for flood insurance is about $593 a year, which covers an average $125,000 home.
The maximum coverage amount is $250,000 for a single-family home and $100,000 for contents.
Even homeowners in low-risk areas with no history of flooding have policies available to them. The cost ranges from $106 a year for homes without basements to $131 a year for homes with basements.
Those policies provide $20,000 of coverage.
Apartment dwellers, especially those who live on the first floor, and businesses also need to consider flood insurance.
Renters insurance may not cover this type of damage.
Take a look at the details of your policy. If you have any questions, contact your insurance agent.
Now is also the time to take stock of possessions. Videotape or write down an inventory of your belongings. Save receipts for major purchases to document their cost.
Make a copy of all of this information and keep it in a waterproof container; even a plastic bag will do.
Keep one set of copies handy to grab quickly if you have to evacuate. Keep another in a different location with copies of other valuable documents or in a safe-deposit box.
After a flood hits, call your insurance agent. Beware of ”adjusters for hire” who charge a commission or promise they can speed up a claim.
In some cases, independent adjusters can get you more money than one who works for your insurance company, but take the time to check out that person’s license, company and references.
Take pictures of the damage. Give a copy to your agent, and keep a copy for yourself. For more information about flood insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency .