Remember Hurricane Irene? After it struck the East Coast in 2011, we wrote in this newsletter that flood insurance is essential for homeowners, and we encouraged you to talk with your insurance agent about coverage.
Hurricane Sandy hit the following year, and some of our clients are still trying to recover from it. All told, the storm caused $50 billion in property losses.
More recently, Hurricane Michael swallowed homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast, from Alabama to the Florida Panhandle. Some fear hard-hit areas will take years to fully recover.
Talk to your insurance agent if you haven’t already done so. Many people assume that homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage caused by floods. Unfortunately, most policies don’t.
If your home could conceivably be flooded, get flood insurance. Only 20% of the homes at risk for floods are covered, according to the National Flood Insurance Program — despite the fact that floods are responsible for more damage than any other natural cause.
We’re so concerned, we want to repeat these important facts about flood insurance:
- You don’t need to live in a high-risk area to need flood insurance.
- Flood insurance is underwritten only by the federal government, through the NFIP. You buy it from your insurance company. Visit www.floodsmart.gov for details and to find a local agent.
- The average flood insurance policy costs about $700 annually, but you might pay as much as $7,000 if your home is in a flood-prone area such as a seacoast or riverbank.
- The insurance protects your house and its contents. If you rent, you need to buy a policy to protect your belongings; such policies cost as little as $100 a year.
- You must buy flood insurance if your home is in a floodplain. You can see if this applies to you by visiting FEMA’s rel=”noopener noreferrer” Map Service at https://msc.fema.gov or by viewing the flood map of your city’s planning department.
- Flood insurance doesn’t go into effect for 30 days. That’s why you need to buy it now — before a forecast calls for the next storm to arrive.