With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Southeast, the latest projections show the storm could cause more than $170 billion in damage to some 750,000 homes, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic.
Let’s hope those homeowners who are potentially in the storm’s path have flood insurance.
Here’s why you need flood insurance
The federal government makes flood insurance policies available to homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program.
However, if you’re like most homeowners, you probably wonder if you really need flood insurance.
Only 14% of homeowners across the country say they have a flood insurance policy, according to a recent survey from the Insurance Information Institute.
That’s not good when you consider floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States, according to FloodSmart.gov.
Unfortunately, flood insurance is one of those things that people tend not to think about until they need the policy.
There’s the assumption that floods are covered under regular home insurance policies. But they’re not. And if you’re finding that out after a flood, by then it’s too late because the damage is already done and you’re left without recourse.
6 common excuses for why people don’t have flood insurance
Here’s a list of the most common excuses for not having flood insurance and some info intended to get you moving if you don’t already have a policy in place…
“I don’t know how to get coverage”
You can get flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and also a few private insurers.
“I can’t afford it”
Premiums will be higher if you live in a coastal community — no doubt about it. Yet the average federal flood insurance premium is somewhere around $878 annually, says the NFIP. That’s for a policy covering damage up to $250,000.
Shopping around is key to getting a good flood insurance quote. You want to check with both the NFIP and private insurers.
“I’m already covered through my other insurance”
Now, what will protect you in the event of flooding is an auto insurance policy with comprehensive coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. But because comprehensive coverage is not mandatory, not everyone has it.
So here’s a word to the wise: If you do have a comp policy, double-check with your auto insurer to make sure damage from flooding is covered.
“I don’t live in a flood plain”
Don’t fall into the trap of using this as a justification to not have flood insurance! The NFIP reports that some 20% of total flood claims paid are from properties outside traditional high-risk areas.
“Insurance is optional for me because I own my home outright”
Many people who own homes do so mortgage-debt free. So insurance is optional for them. Yet even if you live in a low-lying area that historically hasn’t flooded, it’s still a good idea to buy a flood policy.
“I’ll just wait until a big storm looms to get the coverage”
This is one case where if you snooze, you lose.
Coverage typically doesn’t become effective until 30 days after the date you purchase the policy. If you wait for a Superstorm Sandy or a Hurricane Katrina to be on your doorstep, it’s already too late.
So get online and get a flood insurance quote today!
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