You Don’t Have to Live on the Gulf Coast to Need Flood Insurance

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. And even the briefest of floods with only a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in property damage. FEMA reports that from 2008 to 2012 the average residential flood claim in the United States was more than $38,000.

And contrary to popular belief, a standard homeowner’s policy does not cover damage from floods.

Fortunately, Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968, which allows homeowners, condo owners and renters in most parts of the nation to buy government-backed flood insurance through insurance agents. The average yearly premium for flood insurance is about $650.

Homeowners located in areas that are rated as having a high risk of flooding are required to buy flood insurance if their mortgages are federally insured or regulated. Their policies cost more and they are only eligible for a standard policy. Those homeowners in moderate- and low-risk areas may receive a preferred-risk premium, which comes at a lower cost.

There are two types of flood insurance available: Building Property, up to $250,000, and Personal Property (contents), up to $100,000. Homeowners must choose the amount of their deductible. Choosing a higher deductible lowers premiums, but reduces claim payments.

Because it takes 30 days from the time of purchase for flood insurance to go into effect, the time for you to purchase it is now.