April 3, 2014
Here’s a fun little pop quiz from FloodSmart.gov.
True or False?
- In the last five years, all fifty states have experienced some level of flooding.
- Everyone lives in a flood zone.
- Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover floods.
If you answered “true” to all of the above, you get a gold star. And those aren’t even the scariest flood-related facts from the National Flood Insurance Program’s official site. Even more persuasive are the numbers, like $42,000(average flood insurance claim),4% (the interest rate on a federal disaster assistance loan, the typical relief source for the uninsured), and 1/3 (the fraction of flood disaster relief recipients who live outside high risk areas).
Flooding stands in its own category of natural disasters, as it’s commonly an effect, rather than a cause. That means that it’s usually paired with something else disastrous—a result of hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, even avalanches. That makes floods dangerous, expensive, and sneaky.
All of this is why the federal government has put together this super helpful site. Because so few private insurers offer flood insurance (read more about that here), the NFIP was born to help fill the gap. Here’s a quick tour of what FloodSmart.gov offers and why you should take a peek, whether or not you live on a flood plain.
- Regularly updated flood maps, complete with helpful designations and explanations. Find out whether you live in a high, low, or undetermined risk area and what each of those categories actually means. For example, a high risk area is one where you have a 1 in 4 risk of flooding in the course of a 30 year mortgage. Good to know!
- Interactive damage cost calculator. Just pick a sample home size and the level of the flood—anywhere from an inch to four feet—and this handy graphic will show you the approximate cost of any flood. Try entering the smallest square footage and the shallowest flood, and prepare to have your mind blown.
- All about residential coverage. Whether you own or rent your home, look here to find out what’s covered, how much you can expect to pay, and what steps to take to find coverage—including a neat little agent locator that lets you search by zip code. My first try brought up a well-known insurance agent in my own neighborhood!
Flooding and flash flooding can happen during any season of the year. And because most policies require at least 30 days to take effect, the best time to look into flood insurance is always now!