“I don’t need Flood Insurance,” a thought that has gone through many homeowners’ minds, especially if they don’t live near a body of water. Also, probably one of the most regretted statements ever made. Many people don’t know that flooding occurs in EVERY STATE and can happen away from large bodies of water.

Some people also assume that homeowners insurance covers flooding or that they don’t need flood insurance if they rent. If only it were that simple. Let’s discuss flooding, its causes, who needs flood insurance, and why.

What Causes Floods?

Flooding occurs when land that is usually dry overflows or is submerged in water. It’s generally caused by heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt, or storm surge from a hurricane. It is also the most common natural disaster.

Another cause of flooding is new construction and paving. It can change the land’s ability to drain properly and cause flooding in areas that were not originally at risk. So areas initially zoned as low-risk can quickly become high-risk as new construction and development change the landscape. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a flood insurance policy.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

No. No, it does not. This is a common misconception that, unfortunately, leaves a lot of homeowners “stranded” when a flood does occur. The same goes for business owners or renters; those insurance policies usually do not cover floods. 

If you think or are 100% certain your insurance covers flood, we recommend calling your agent just to confirm. What would it hurt? 

Who Needs A Flood Insurance Policy?

As mentioned above, flooding is a common natural disaster, and unexpected circumstances can cause it. So even if you don’t live on the coast, it’s a good idea to carry flood insurance or at least speak to an agent to see if it may be a good choice for you.

Home and business owners are equally at risk. You can check whether you are in a high or low-risk area using this flood map provided by FEMA. Being in a high-risk area could mean a higher rate; however, the average flood insurance claim in 2021 was $44,401. Only a few home or business owners have that kind of safety net. 

Some people may choose to rely on Federal disaster assistance, which comes in two forms. One is a loan, which must be paid back with interest, and the other is a FEMA disaster grant, which is about $5,000 on average per household. Still not going to cover that average of $44k in damage. A flood insurance policy provides peace of mind, especially considering that just 1 inch of floodwater can cause $25,000 in damages. 

According to FEMA, $985 was the average annual NFIP policy premium in 2021. Now, this is an average number, and your risk factor plays a role in your premium. But when the numbers to restore your home and chances of a disaster are so high – how much would you pay for the comfort of knowing your home or business is covered when the unexpected happens?

What is an NFIP Policy?

NFIP is the National Flood Insurance Program. It is managed by FEMA and is delivered to the public by a network of more than 50 insurance companies – including us! The government uses specific metrics and sets the rates for these types of properties, so they are the same regardless of the carrier you choose. At the end of the day, it’s best to choose a carrier you trust. 

Flood insurance can be mandatory. The federal government requires mortgaged properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) to be insured against flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program has changed how it determines flood risk and flood insurance prices with Risk Rating 2.0. 

Risk Rating 2.0 is a transformational leap forward. It enables FEMA to set fairer rates and ensures rate increases and decreases are fair. Rates are easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk for more individualized coverage and cost.

With the new risk rating, FEMA has the ability and tools to address rating differences by including more flood risk variables. These include flood frequency, multiple flood types—river overflow, storm surge, coastal erosion, and heavy rainfall—and distance to a water source, along with property characteristics such as elevation and rebuilding cost.

Do I Need Flood Insurance? Talk To An Agent

It’s important to understand what a flood is and the risks it poses to your home or business. We hope this blog has given you some of that information. FEMA is another great resource with countless tools that can help guide you in the right direction. But if this is all a little overwhelming, or you’d rather not do the research yourself, feel free to get in touch with us to request a quote or speak to an agent. We’re happy to guide you through the process.

While there is no specific flood season, flooding and flood damage usually occurs in the U.S. from spring to fall. It is also more likely to occur in areas with seasonal rainstorms or spring snowmelt. Be sure to follow the weather channel or your local news source to keep up to date about predictions in your area.

What causes spring floods and flood damage

The warming temperatures and spring rains cause snow and ice to melt rapidly, making it harder for the thawing ground to absorb rainfall. Since the water has nowhere to go, it runs off into lakes, streams, and rivers, which can cause them to overflow and flood basements, roadways, businesses, and even homes.

Another contribution to Spring floods is ice jams or ice dams. These occur when floating river ice collects in an area and blocks the progress of the ice downstream. Ice jams can slow the flow of a river and cause upstream flooding. They can even cause flash floods if the jam is suddenly released.

Who needs to be ready for a flood? 

Everyone. Whether you rent, own a home, or business, you could be at risk for a flood. Even if you have insurance to cover your home or business, they usually do not cover floods. It’s up to you to make sure you’re covered if flood damage occurs. Checking a flood map will help you understand your risk and can empower you to take steps and reduce flood damage.

How can fires increase your chance of a flood?  

Did you know properties affected by fires are at risk for flooding? Scorched soil cannot absorb water; it forms a water-repellent layer and can block water absorption for up to 5 years. This means even a light rain could turn into a flood.

Before a flood

If your area has received a flood warning or flooding has been forecast, you can take measures to help minimize flood damage and losses. The good news is that your National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy offers flood loss avoidance and will cover up to $1,000 in reasonable expenses to protect your insured property. It will also cover up to $1,000 to move your insured property away from a flood or imminent flood danger. What is eligible?

  • Sandbags, including the sand to fill them
  • Fill to create temporary levees
  • Water pumps
  • Plastic sheeting and lumber
  • Boxes and packaging materials
  • Moving, transportation, or shipping costs
  • Labor, including your own or a family member’s labor, at the federal minimum wage. Labor charged by a professional may also be reimbursed.
  • Note: The moved personal property must be placed in a fully enclosed building or otherwise protected from the elements.

If you have any questions, contact your agent BEFORE a flood has been forecast. Make sure you understand your coverage and take the proper steps to prepare.

Flood Restoration After a flood

It’s important to be safe! Only return to your home after authorities say it’s safe. Be sure to take pictures and document any damage caused by the flood before you start to clean up. You can take some steps to begin clean-up after a flood; however, you may need to call professionals to help with flood restoration.

  • Wear heavy work gloves, protective clothing, and boots during clean-up. Use appropriate face coverings or masks to clean mold or other debris. 
  • People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster clean-up work.
  • Be aware that snakes and other animals may be in your house.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock if it is safe.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.

Bankers also provides an active storm tracker with steps and resources on how to prepare for a flood. Feel free to bookmark the page in your browser for easy access.

Learn more about flood insurance

Flooding can happen in any state and is the most common natural disaster. We want to ensure you have as many resources as possible so you’re prepared when it matters. In our blog on how to protect yourself from unexpected damage, we go into detail about what an NFIP policy is and how much FEMA offers if you do experience flood damage. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us to request a quote or speak to an agent. We’re happy to guide you through the process.