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Do You Need Flood Insurance?

A sleeping room that suffered water damage during a flood that illustrates the importance of flood insurance

As winter turns into spring, the ice and snow melt, and the water flows into rivers and lakes. For some people who live in low-ground areas, this brings a risk of flooding. There are two big issues with this. First, it doesn’t take any time for floodwaters to rise, often within a matter of minutes. Second, even a small amount of water can do significant damage.

If you’re in the market to buy a new home, your mortgage company will inform you whether you need flood insurance. If you currently own a home but haven’t ever purchased this type of coverage, you should find out sooner than later if you need it.

Why Flood Insurance Is So Important

Remember the flooding in New Orleans? Once the water breached the levees during Hurricane Katrina, flash flood waters covered a large portion of the city. Thousands upon thousands of people lost everything, and for some, that included their lives. Fast-moving water isn’t something to play around with.

Another example is the flooding in Texas. In the case of the 2017 Houston flooding, major rainfall from Hurricane Harvey refused to let up. The flooding led to massive destruction — more than $125 billion in property damage.

However, you don’t have to live in a hurricane zone to experience a flash flood. Fortunately, most areas at risk have some kind of flood control system in place. Even then, that’s not always enough. Again, a prime example is flooding in New Orleans.

Since water travels downward, not only could you lose everything on a higher level, but you also could experience basement flooding. Even if you have a powerful sump pump, it wouldn’t be enough to help.

How to Determine if You Need Flood Insurance

One of the best ways to find out if you need this type of coverage is to talk to your mortgage lender. Another great option is to speak with a representative from your insurance company. That professional can quickly identify whether your home is in an area at risk for flooding. In either case, they’ll use an official flood map that pinpoints exact locations that are high-risk.

outside of home flooded with water level up to windows flood insurance

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Some people make the mistake of thinking their homeowner’s insurance includes protection from floods. That’s not the case. You need a second policy for flood insurance. Typically, the mortgage company requires homeowners to have this type of coverage if they live in a flood zone. So, without proof of protection, you couldn’t get a loan.

Homeowners living in the highest risk areas or a community that participates in the government’s National Flood Insurance Program can opt for coverage. If you don’t live in one of these areas, you would need to purchase a specific flood insurance policy from your provider. The one exception is if you have a federally backed mortgage, which means the government subsidizes it. In this case, the homeowner’s policy includes flood insurance.

The amount you’d pay for a policy that covers a slower-moving or flash flood depends on several factors. That includes the state in which you live and the degree of risk for your property’s location. On average, you can expect to spend $700 a year for protection. Considering the devastation caused by the flooding in New Orleans and Houston, that’s money well spent.

Even if your home isn’t at high risk, it never hurts to talk to your insurance provider about flood insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

At Freeway Insurance, we can help you get the flood insurance you need. Get a free home insurance quote online, over the phone or at one of our offices near you.

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