9 Myths About Flood Insurance
Turn on the news just about any day of any month and it is becoming clearer that weather patterns are getting more and more unpredictable. Temperature extremes are becoming the norm, storms seem to be getting stronger and any place can become a flood disaster area at any time.
Just because you don't live in a high-risk flood plain doesn't mean that you don't need to prepare for the possibility of flood damage. You may be experiencing a drought today, but tomorrow could bring rain or quick snow melt or a water main break in your neighborhood, and, instantly, you could be dealing with a flood. Check with your insurance agent if you're are eligible for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Here are nine common myths about flood insurance and the facts that debunk them.
Myth 1: I have homeowners insurance, so I don't need flood insurance.
Fact: Typical homeowners policies don't cover flooding. You need to buy another policy to protect your home and its contents from flood damage.
Myth 2: I don't live in a flood plain, so I don't need flood insurance.
Fact: According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding has occurred in every part of the country this year, and according to the NFIP, between 20 and 25% of insurance claims come from areas that were considered low-risk flood areas.
Myth 3: I live by the ocean, so no one will sell it to me.
Fact: Except for a few very specific exceptions, you can buy flood insurance anywhere in the United States as long as your community participates in NFIP. Check to see if your area is covered.
Myth 4: I didn't need to get flood insurance when I bought my house, so I don't need it now.
Fact: Any place can flood under certain conditions. Even if you don't live by a lake, stream or creek, melting snow, blocked sewer drains and just plain rain can cause flooding.
Myth 5: Flood insurance will cover my whole house.
Fact: Typical flood insurance policies don't cover your basement contents. They typically cover the structure of the home and major equipment, such as the stairways, washer and dryer and sump pumps, but other items and furnishings in your basement and crawl space aren't covered.
Myth 6: Flood insurance will blow my budget.
Fact: Low-risk flood plain areas have a lower chance of flooding and, therefore, require lower premiums. Some policies can start as low as $112 per year. In fact, according to FEMA, the average cost for flood insurance across the country is less than $500.
Myth 7: FEMA will cover any damage I get from floods.
Fact: Your area must be declared a national disaster − which happens about 50% of the time − to get aid from FEMA; this aid comes in the form of loans that must be repaid.
Myth 8: I live in an apartment, so I can't buy flood insurance.
Fact: You can buy policies to protect the contents of your apartment, condo and business.
Myth 9: I've been flooded before, so no one will cover me.
Fact: You can still buy flood insurance as long as your community is part of NFIP. In fact, if you have been flooded before, it would be a good idea to get coverage.
You can check out floodsmart.gov to determine your flood risk, or call your agent to make sure you're covered.