Deciding to get flood insurance can be one of the most important things you do for your house and the future of your finances. Here are 10 facts we want you to know about flood insurance.
1. Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover floods. The typical homeowner’s insurance policy covers a lot, including lightning strikes, volcanoes, and things that fall out of the sky. But not floods. So if heavy rainfall turns your backyard creek into the Nile, you’ll be out of luck if you don’t have flood insurance. (For a breakdown of every scenario that is – and is not – covered by homeowner’s insurance see this list.)
2. In theory, almost every home is at risk. The First Street Foundation, has given a flood-risk score to 142 homes and properties which you can check out here. You can also see if you live in a flood zone by entering your address in FEMA’s database here.
3. Low-risk areas are riskier than you think. If you’re in a low- to moderate-risk zone, the risk is greater than you may think. According to FEMA, if your house is in one of these zones, your chances of flooding is still five times higher than having a fire over a 30-year period. In fact, homes in these zones account for about a fifth of all flood insurance claims.
4. One hundred-year floods can happen more frequently. You might have heard about 100-year floods in the news. A 100-year flood doesn’t necessarily mean it will only happen once every century. The term just refers to the likelihood of a flood happening during a given period of time. But 100-year floods can occur more often than once every century. For example, in Goffstown, New Hampshire there were two 100-year floods within one year of each other in the mid-2000s.
5. The most common natural disaster is a flood. That’s according to FEMA. It makes sense when you realize that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
6. One inch can cost $25,000 of damage. That’s right, just one inch of water. Little wonder that floods cost almost $4 billion in the United States in 2019.
7. Flash flooding is a particularly deadly and devastating form of flooding. It takes just six inches of flash floodwaters to push someone over. One foot is enough for cars to start floating. Flash floods can uproot trees, eviscerate buildings, and blow out bridges, according to the Northeast States Emergency Consortium. Flash floods can produce walls of water up to 30 feet high and move at 6 to 12 miles an hour. You may have only seconds to react in time (source: the National Weather Service).
8. Floods aren’t always caused by overflowing rivers or storm surges. It could be something much more mundane – like water from melting snow, heavy rainfall, or seeping groundwater. And yes, those kinds of floods aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance either. Same goes for flooding due to backed up drains and sewage systems (sources here and here).
9. You don’t have to own a home to get it. Renters who are concerned about flooding can buy flood insurance as well, according to The Balance.
10. No, FEMA won’t necessarily bail you out. FEMA can only step in if there is a presidential declaration of a disaster, which occurs in less than half of all flooding events. Plus, most FEMA aid is in the form of a low-interest loan. If you’re lucky to get a grant, it typically will only cover a fraction of the costs you incur (source: FEMA.)
At the Insurance Center, we offer flood insurance. Call us today at one of our main offices for more information.