Recent extreme weather events across the country have highlighted the structural damage that can be caused by flooding. While mortgage lenders require that most of their customers in federally designated high-risk flood zones have flood insurance, it may be wise to consider purchasing flood insurance even if you are in low- or moderate-risk areas. Indeed, it is erroneous to assume that you will not experience flooding events in these zones. FEMA notes, for example, that nearly 25% of claims on flood insurance policies come from these areas.
How Do I Find My Flood Zone Designation?
If your property is in a high-risk area, it’s likely that you are already aware of your designation. If you aren’t, it’s relatively easy to find out. FEMA publishes Flood Insurance Rate Maps annually, which indicate risk levels. Changing weather patterns, local construction and dam adjustments can all impact the probability of flooding in your neighborhood, and it’s a good idea to regularly consult these maps even if you don’t purchase flood insurance.
What Types of Insurance Are Available?
If you decide to purchase flood insurance, you have two types to choose from. One is federally funded through the National Flood Insurance Program, and the other is available through private insurers. Both offer coverage for buildings and personal possessions. Nonetheless, each type has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s a good idea to consult a local insurance agent who can advise you.
How Are My Premiums Determined?
The process for calculating the premiums differs between the NFIP and private insurers. The former uses the information provided by a FEMA Elevation Certificate to ascertain your rates. These certificates can be obtained via a land surveyor. You can find a surveyor by searching the internet for land surveyors near me. Most private insurers do not require a FEMA certificate, but they do make their own inspections in addition to consulting local FIRMS.
Purchasing flood insurance may seem like nothing more than an extra expense. However, according to the NFIP, it only takes a few inches of water to cause damages to your home, totaling thousands of dollars. Having the right coverage will mean that your property is protected against any eventuality.