Flood Insurance: Are you sure your home is covered?

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flood-insurance.pngI’ve been talking with my insurance agent over the past few weeks about flood insurance. It may not be as exciting as Dr. Phil’s marital debacle, but then again, Dr. Phil is unlikely to destroy my home. I found a great government resource about flood insurance that I’ll share with you. But first, Here are some things I’ve learned that you should definitely consider if you own a home:

 

  • Homeowner’s insurance by itself typically does not include flood insurance, which you must buy separately.
  • Flood insurance is quirky. For example, my agent tells me that flood insurance will only cover a home if one or more adjacent properties are also damaged. If only your home is damaged, flood insurance won’t cover you. I assume this varies from policy to policy, and certainly if you don’t live really close to anybody else.
  • Flood insurance is expensive. Policies can easily go into the thousands per year depending on where you live.
  • In 2006, 1/3 of all flood claims were submitted by those living in low to moderate risk areas.
  • You may live in a flood zone and not realize it.

It was this last point that was a shocker to me. I live in a high-risk flood zone! I would have never guessed it. And that brings me to a great resource you should check out if you want to look into flood insurance or determine if you live in a high-risk flood zone–Flood Smart.

 

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Flood Smart is a government run website that provides a wealth of information about flooding risk, flood insurance, and even how to find an insurance agent. One feature I found particularly helpful was a tool that allows you to enter your address and determine what your flood risk is. That’s how I learned we live in a high risk area.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that my insurance agent does not believe we need flood insurance. I guess he thinks the risk of a flood where we live is small, notwithstanding our flood risk rating. But isn’t that the very type of risk one should insure against? After all, one catastrophic loss would bring to naught years of sound money management.

Published or Updated: March 23, 2012
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Constance says:

    I live in a flood plain and I could not get a FHA loan unless I purchased flood insurance. The insurance was only $250 per year.

    • DR says:

      Constance, that’s not a bad price at all. Do you mind sharing which insurance company you went with?

  2. Dave says:

    Flood insurance should be pretty consistent across insurance companies, as the coverage is provided by NFIP. A handful of insurance companies administrate the program, so the only differences should be in those costs, and possibly varying commissions to the agent.

    That said, flood coverage in the US is historically underpriced from a risk perspective (usually a good deal for those at risk), as normally only those in higher risk areas are compelled to buy coverage, usually by the mortgage as mentioned.

    Definitely a topic that isn’t widely understood, good post.

    - Dave

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