Even if you’re not in the mapped Special Flood Hazard Area, you may be subject to flooding from local drainage. In either case, flood insurance can be a good investment because most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage caused by surface water flooding.
Here are some basic facts about flood insurance:
- Local insurance agents can sell a flood insurance policy under rules and rates set by the Federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Alternatively, insurance agents may also sell private flood insurance, which may not provide the same coverage as NFIP insurance.
- Any agent can sell a policy and all agents must charge the same rates.
- Any house can be covered by a flood insurance policy. It does not matter if the property is in the mapped floodplain or out of it.
- Detached garages and accessory buildings are covered under the policy for the lot’s main building.
- Separate coverage can be obtained for the building’s structure and for its contents (except for money, valuable papers, and the like).
- The structure generally includes everything that stays with a house when it is sold, including the furnace, cabinets, built-in appliances, and wall-to-wall carpeting. There is no coverage for things outside the house, like the driveway and landscaping.
- Renters can buy contents coverage, even if the owner does not buy structural coverage on the building.
- Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. If you have a policy, check it closely. You may only have structural coverage (because that’s all that banks require).
Don’t wait for a flood before you buy coverage. There’s a 30-day waiting period before a policy takes effect.
Contact your property insurance agent to see if a flood insurance policy would help you. If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, you can contact the NFIP Referral Call Center at (888) 379-9531 to request an agent referral.
For some types of mortgages, you may be required to have flood insurance as part of your loan. See About Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance.
Flood insurance is not getting cheaper. Talk to your insurance professional about your flood coverage and premium to see if there are ways you can save money.
Look into elevating your house or making other changes to lower your flood insurance premiums. See more information at Protect your Property.