While historic rains like those that came with Hurricane Harvey are rare, floods remain the number one disaster in the United States and occur in all 50 states. Even those who don’t live in a floodplain should plan ahead and prepare for flooding.
Not just for those in a floodplain
Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage, according to FEMA, but floods can bring waves of water many feet high. Houston residents experienced this firsthand after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. With only about 15 percent of Houston area homes covered by active flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), many faced a high cost to rebuild.
“Floods don’t always start with a major storm,” said Edward Conley, director of insurance sales and financial services for AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency. “Several years ago, communities like Pataskala and London saw six inches of rain falling in a 24-hour period. That event caused major damage to homes, vehicles and businesses.”
What type of insurance is best?
The right insurance can help save homeowners thousands of dollars in the event of a flood, but it’s important to understand which type of insurance you need to cover various types of flood damage. AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency offers the following tips:
- Flood insurance: Federal law requires flood insurance for federally financed loans for those who live in high-risk flood zones. Lenders may also require flood insurance for moderate risk zones. Unless it’s due to the new purchase of a home, there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to provide coverage so you must plan ahead. If you wait until the storm is on the way, you’ve likely waited too long.
- Homeowners insurance: Flooding can also occur due to clogged drains or pipes, sewer backup or sump pump failure. Flood insurance typically doesn’t cover sewer backup or sump pump failure. In these cases, homeowners insurance can help cover the costs. Often, insurers add this coverage to the policy as an endorsement.
- Comprehensive auto insurance: A comprehensive auto insurance policy covers the costs of a floodwater-damaged vehicle.
An up-to-date home inventory can help flood victims settle a claim faster. It also helps people purchase the right amount of insurance, so they’re protected from loss. The most effective way to take inventory of a home is to shoot video of the entire home.
More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside of floodplains, according to FEMA. The NFIP can help homeowners determine their flood risk and help them learn about safeguarding their property. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov.