Floods are among the most heartrending impacts of a major storm, but a home doesn’t have to endure a cataclysm to suffer serious damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that just an inch of flooding — barely the depth of a puddle — can cost around $26,000 for a one-story, 2,500 square-foot property. If the water levels go up to a wading depth of four feet, then costs can accelerate to more than $100,000.
Coverage From Rising Waters
While homeowner and renter policies can cover your home if the plumbing bursts while you’re at work, you’ll need flood insurance for assistance after nature-borne flooding. As we discussed in the past
, this is different from the windstorm insurance that addresses the hammering your home can take from hurricane and tornado gusts. If you live on the coastline or in another high-risk area, you may have been required to carry flood coverage if you have a government-backed mortgage.
Still, 40% of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance claims between 2014 and 2018 came from properties that were not in high-risk areas. While you can check the FEMA website to see if you fall in a high-risk zone, recent years show how extreme weather can penetrate many regions previously considered less vulnerable.
Sometimes disaster assistance is made available through FEMA, but that only occurs following a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which doesn’t always happen. And those who carry flood insurance may receive substantially more aid. Remember, disaster assistance is not intended to make you whole, just get you back on your feet again. Also, with flood insurance, you don’t have to wait for a declaration of disaster to receive help.
Obtaining Flood Insurance
The NFIP is managed by FEMA and serves more than 23,000 communities across the U.S. You can also purchase flood insurance privately. There are two types of coverage in most policies: