Flood Insurance Q & A
Are You Protected?
From Nor’easters to hurricanes in the Atlantic, snow melt to spring downpours, New England has its fair share of rain events. This increases the risk potential for flooding. Do you understand what flood insurance covers and what it doesn’t? And do you know the risks of leaving your home unprotected? Being in the know is the key to keeping yourself protected in the event of a flood.
How is a flood defined?
According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a flood is defined as water that covers at least two acres or impacts at least two properties. Floods can either be the result of an act of nature—storm surge, snow melt, heavy rains—or they can be caused by a burst dam or some other event that causes the water level to rise beyond a reasonable level.
Why do I need flood insurance?
If you live in a low-lying area near a lake or marsh—places that are prone to flooding—you may be legally required to carry flood insurance. If not, you have to decide if it’s worth the risk not to have flood insurance after heavy rains and storms could possibly damage your property. Flood insurance may be purchased for properties both inside and outside of high-risk flood zones.
Even if you don’t live in a flood-prone area, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flash floods from major weather events, even in inland locations, occur in every region of the United States. So if you’re thinking that maybe you don’t need to worry about flood insurance, remember, FEMA reports that 90 percent of natural disasters in the United States involve some kind of flooding.
If that statistic doesn’t make you think, did you know that out of all the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims, 25 percent come from homes outside of flood zones?
Isn’t my standard homeowners policy enough?
No. Your standard homeowners insurance may cover some excess rain, but rising water levels from nearby lakes and oceans won’t be covered. And to protect your property, you really need to get additional flood insurance. Consider this: the average flood claim comes to more than $20,000. When you purchase flood insurance, you’ll actually be saving more money than if you wait for disaster assistance. Disaster assistance will only be available to you once a disaster is federally declared, and it comes in the form of a loan that needs to be paid back with interest.
If you aren’t covered and decide to get flood insurance, you should act as quickly as possible, because most policies take 30 days to go into effect. Don’t wait until the forecast shows the potential for flooding. It may be too late.
For all your home, auto and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.
Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.