When it rains, it pours. And when it pours, rivers and creeks have a tendency to flood. Water can be a very powerful force when it becomes abundant enough, and flood damage can be very costly if you need to make repairs to your home. Unfortunately, many property owners are unaware that flood protection is not included in their homeowners insurance and must be purchased separately.
National Flood Insurance Program Statistics
- Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the U.S.
- The average flood insurance claim in recent years is $35,000.
- From 2002 to 2011, total flood insurance claims in the U.S. averaged nearly $3 billion annually.
- New Jersey is the top state in the U.S. for flood insurance claims. More than $628 million of claims payments were paid in the state in 2011 alone.
- People who live outside high-risk flood areas file more than 20% of NFIP claims and get more than 33% of disaster relief funds.
What Is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?
The NFIP was instituted by Congress in 1968 to provide flood insurance policies to homeowners, business owners and renters in communities that participate in the program. The flood program, which is administered by FEMA, works with more than 90 private insurance carriers to provide flood insurance to cover damages that result from flash floods, hurricanes, winter storms or heavy rains.
The premiums do not change from company to company; they are set by FEMA and are based on factors like the type of construction of the home, the land the house is built on, the location of the home within the flood plain and other factors. The lower the risk of flood damage, the lower the premium often is.
An important thing to know is that you can buy flood insurance anytime; however, there is a 30 day waiting period after paying your first premium before the policy goes into effect. Don’t wait until a flood warning to consider buying flood protection.
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Flooding occurs in all 50 states and is not covered in home or renter’s policies. But does that mean everyone should have flood insurance? The choice comes down to your level of risk. Unfortunately, that can be difficult to determine.
According to FEMA, most people are likely to need flood insurance at some point. FEMA has flood plain maps for every area in the country, and it lists areas as 10-year, 30-year, 50-year or 100-year flood plains based on elevation, slope of the land, soil, proximity to water sources and other factors.