After watching the devastation that Hurricane (and later Tropical Storm) Harvey did to Houston and the surrounding areas, one thing should be clear: flooding can happen anywhere. With tens of thousands of homes completely destroyed, it’s hard to imagine what the rebuilding process will be like.
Here’s a stark reality for Houston homeowners: Less than 20 percent have flood insurance. That’s 80 percent of people with likely no way to rebuild their homes without outside help. Why is that number so high? Many homes in the area weren’t in a designated “flood zone” and didn’t require insurance. Does this sound familiar? It’s something that most homeowners are guilty of all around the country.
The reality is that a quarter of all flood claims come from homes that aren’t in a floodplain. What many people don’t realize is that you can buy flood insurance even if you’re aren’t in a high risk area. Now that we’ve seen what Harvey did, if you don’t have coverage, now is the time to get it.
Don’t Count on Your Homeowner’s Insurance
Your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flooding. In a hurricane or other storm situation, you’ll be covered for damage from the wind. If your roof blows off or a window blows out, and water gets into your home as a result, that damage will likely be covered. But damage from rising waters, storm surges, and flash foods aren’t part of your standard homeowner’s policy.
Flood Insurance Requires a 30 Day Wait
To buy a flood insurance policy, as your insurance agent, we can help you select your policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While it’s required by anyone with a mortgage living in a Special Flood Hazard Zone, it’s available for everyone else, too. When you buy a policy, you have to wait 30 days before it’s in effect. Trying to buy it right before a storm hits won’t help you if your home is flooded.
Flood Insurance Has Limits
Flood insurance through NFIP are backed by the federal government and includes limits for damage. The maximum coverage you can get for the physical structure of your home is $250,000 and $100,000 for your possessions. If you need more, you can buy private excess flood insurance for amounts exceeding those limits.
What About Federal Aid?
While federal disaster relief benefits may be available for victims after a flood, they don’t make you whole. If your home is completely destroyed, you won’t receive enough to rebuild. What amount you do get isn’t free money, either. It’s a loan, and you’ll have to pay it back over time with interest. Basically, you may have what amounts to a second mortgage to pay back and still not be able to rebuild completely.
Flood Insurance Options
Choosing the right flood insurance policy is important. Like your homeowner’s insurance, you want to make sure you have enough to cover a worst-case scenario. Prevention is the best medicine for most floods. Imperial Flood Services policies include $1000 in coverage for preventative measures like sandbags and boards for your windows with a $0 deductible.
If you can’t imagine how you’d rebuild if a Harvey-like storm hit the Charlotte area, make sure you have flood insurance. You home isn’t immune to flooding because a map says you’re not in a flood zone. Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today and let us help you protect your home and family from whatever a storm may bring.