The most common questions that buyers ask when they shop for home insurance coverage are: Do I need flood insurance for my house? Should I get flood insurance if I’m not in a flood zone? Does hurricane coverage also handle flood damage?
If you find yourself wondering the same thing, keep reading.
We can address different situations for when you would want this type of coverage, when you wouldn’t, and what you can expect to pay for it.
You Need Flood Insurance if Your Live In a Flood Zone
Homes built in flood zones are legally required to add flood coverage to their home insurance plans. This includes homes near the ocean, alongside rivers, on lakes, and in low-lying, flood-prone areas.
Financial expert Dave Ramsey says that homeowners who live in flood zones are actually the most likely to come out of a flood without debt or a significant financial burden because of this requirement. When the floodwaters come, you are covered. This is better than gambling that your home will never get flooded, only to start scrambling once the waters start to rise.
Homeowners Insurance Typically Does Not Cover Flood Damage
One of the biggest misconceptions about homeowner’s insurance is that it covers flood damage.
Many home insurance companies sell flood insurance as an optional add-on for customers who may need it, but it is not included in standard plans. (After all, it’s unlikely that a desert home in a land-locked area would worry about flooding.) This means that many people who live just outside flood zones and don’t need the mandatory coverage often overlook flood insurance and assume they are covered.
Even if you are not in a flood zone, you may want to invest in this extra insurance option. Of all the natural disasters that homeowners in the United States face, 90% of them involve flooding. A strong series of storms or unexpected hurricanes in your area could flood your home, and you could end up paying for the lost items and repairs out of your pocket.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
If you are on the fence about whether or not you need flood insurance, consider what this form of protection covers for your home.
A few of the features that flood insurance covers include:
- The foundation and structure of your home
- The electric and plumbing systems
- Your water heater and HVAC equipment (like air conditioners and furnaces)
- Kitchen appliances (like your refrigerator and stove)
- Permanently installed carpeting or hardwood flooring
- Debris removal
- Up to $2,500 in valuables covering your personal property
As you start to realize just how much your home could get damaged in a flood, you may realize that flood insurance is worth the added protection. However, keep in mind that flood insurance does not cover most outdoor damage like loss of trees, damage to the swimming pool, deck replacement, and boathouse repairs. Additionally, it doesn’t cover your loss of income and temporary housing if your home is uninhabitable, though your traditional home insurance should cover that.
Additionally, flood insurance coverage is limited in basements as they tend to be more flood-prone. Your basement likely won’t be covered for carpeting, window treatments, and most personal property. In the event of a flood, you will want to move as many of your personal items out of the basement if possible and either take them out of the house for safekeeping or bring them upstairs to higher ground.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
The cost of flood insurance varies by state, location in or near the flood zone, whether or not you have a basement, the value of your home, and the amount of coverage you need. However, home insurance costs typically range from $150 to $450 per year.
Flood insurance needs to be paid annually through your provider. You can get flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through FEMA or through a private provider.
In both cases, the insurance likely won’t cover the first 30 days. This means your flood insurance won’t cover your damage if you call the day before a hurricane hits. However, some providers will let coverage go into effect within a week of your purchase, so shop around if this waiting period concerns you.
Ask Your Realtor® for Flood Insurance Recommendations
If you are currently in the home buying process, prompt your Realtor® with the question, Do I need flood insurance?
They can provide insight into what other homeowners do in the area and the history of flooding in the region. Asking local experts is particularly important if you are moving to a new area and aren’t familiar with the flood zones and inclement weather that comes through.
If you need a Realtor® to guide you through the buying process, turn to Effective Agents. We can help find the best agent for your needs so you can find a flood-protected house that you love.