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Flooding is America’s most common natural disaster. Still, most property insurance policies exclude flood coverage. Flood insurance is necessary coverage for businesses that operate in flood zones or even low to moderate risk areas. Flood insurance can help you get back on your feet in the event of a catastrophic loss.
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WHAT IS IT?
Flood insurance covers your property and enclosed possessions in the event of a flood. While this coverage doesn’t provide a complete replacement for your damaged possessions, it is designed to help you get back on your feet. Coverage and limits vary.
WHY DO I NEED IT?
If your home or business is located in a flood zone or high risk flood area, you need the protection provided by flood insurance. Properties outside of these zones can also be affected by flooding.
WHO IS IT FOR?
All federal (FHA) mortgages require homeowners to purchase flood insurance. However, it’s important to remember, any homeowner can benefit from the protection provided by a flood insurance policy. Many homes outside of high risk areas are damaged by floods each year.
Important Flood Insurance Facts to Keep You Afloat
What is a flood?
“Flood” is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from overflow of inland or tidal waters, the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or mudflows caused by flooding.
In the not too distant past, flood insurance was unavailable because it was too costly for private insurers to offer. The national response to flood disasters was generally limited to constructing flood-control works such as dams, levees, sea walls, and so forth. If you were a flood victim, the only recourse you had was the remote possibility of disaster relief.
In 1968, Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with two objectives in mind. The first goal was to give property owners the opportunity to purchase insurance protection for flood losses. The second goal was to encourage communities to implement and enforce measures to reduce future flood risks in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s).
Today, individuals who reside in communities that make an effort to reduce flood risks can receive insurance as a financial protection against flood losses. The federal government has been able to lower its financial risk by having local governments take responsibility and steps to limit the chances (and the resulting devastation) of floods.
How flood insurance helps your community.
A community can protect its citizens against the high costs associated with flood disasters by limiting development in areas of high flood risk and encouraging construction practices that help reduce the impact on structural damages. The entire community benefits from effective flood area management: the risk of loss is lessened, the impact on property is decreased, and property owners can purchase much-needed insurance protection.
What if my community chooses not to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program?
Flood insurance is not available to businesses of communities that don’t participate. Also, if the President declares disaster due to flooding in a non-participating community, no federal financial assistance can be provided for the permanent repair or reconstruction of insurable buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). LoPriore Insurance or community officials can inform you whether or not your community is participating in the NFIP.
Do I need flood insurance in Massachusetts?
Don’t let the fact that you don’t own beach-front property lull you into a sense of false security. Fun fact – beach-front structures only account for 3% of all flood losses. Homeowners who live in high hazard flood areas should seriously contemplate purchasing flood insurance, especially when you consider that they have a 26% chance of having a flood loss over the course of a 30-year mortgage! Often, flood insurance is required as a condition of granting a mortgage if your lender determines that your home is in a high hazard flood area. Even if you live in a low hazard flood area, your property may still be at risk. Each year, about 25% of all flood claims paid are for property located outside high-risk areas. The good news is that there is a Preferred Risk program that offers substantial premium discounts for homes located in low hazard areas.
If you think your home is at risk, you might want to consider contacting your local agent. Also, you can check out special flood insurance maps published by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). These maps (which indicate a community’s flood hazard areas and the associated degree of risk) are usually kept on file at your local town hall or county building and are available for your review.
How can I get flood insurance?
About 85 private insurance companies sell and service the National Flood Insurance Program for the federal government. LoPriore Insurance offers some of these companies through our extensive portfolio and can provide you with all the necessary information.
Flood insurance is catastrophic insurance, and there are limits on how much claim payout will be provided. For example, residential buildings can only receive up to $250,000 in coverage, non-residential buildings only $500,000. Contents within the home are also limited up to $100,000 for residential ($500,000 for non-residential) locations.
Direct physical losses by flood are covered. Also covered are losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by excessive waters accompanied by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tidal surge, or the like, which result in flooding. Damages due to mudflows, if caused by flooding, are also covered. Coverage is provided for flood damage to the building itself. This includes foundation elements, as well as posts, pilings, piers, or other support systems for elevated buildings.
Coverage is excluded for:
· Most buildings located entirely over water (like boathouses),
· Structures other than buildings (such as fences, retaining walls, swimming pools, underground structures), and walkways, decks, driveways, and patios located outside the building. Coverage is also available on an actual cash value basis for the contents (your personal possessions) located inside the building. However, it’s very important that you know that coverage on valuable items (such as artwork, rare books, jewelry, and furs) and personal property used in business is limited to only $2500.
This section is not intended to be a complete description of coverage. LoPriore Insurance can provide you with complete provisions.
Coverage for basements and enclosed areas beneath the lowest floor
You need to be aware that flood insurance only provides limited coverage for these areas. Coverage is available for equipment necessary to the habitability of the building, such as utility connections, sump pumps, well water tanks and pumps, fuel or water tanks, furnaces, clothes washers and dryers, food freezers and air conditioners. Clean up expenses are also covered. Likewise, dry basement walls (unpainted), sheet rock walls (including fiberglass insulation), and ceilings are covered.
Note that finished structural elements (such as paneling and linoleum) and contents (such as rugs and furniture) in basements and enclosures are not covered.
Replacement cost versus actual cash value
Here’s an extremely important point. Replacement cost coverage (which pays to replace or restore structure items) is only offered on a limited basis,
Remember, flood insurance is not meant to restore your home to its original condition, just to get you back on your feet! And, it’s much better than having no coverage at all.and only for a single-family dwelling that is your principal residence. To receive replacement cost coverage on the structure, you must be insured for at least 80% of the building’s replacement cost at the time of the loss or the maximum amount of coverage available, whichever is less.
Contents losses are always adjusted on an actual cash value basis. That means that you only receive what the item was worth as of the day of the loss. For example, if you bought a $300 color television two years ago and it was damaged during a flood, you might only receive about $50 for it, if that is what the equipment was worth on the day of the flood. Your building loss would also be handled this way unless you qualified for replacement cost coverage.
A deductible is the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Standard flood deductibles are $500 and $750. Higher deductibles are available to reduce policy premiums. Please be aware that with flood insurance, your deductible will be applied to both your building and its contents, even though they might be damaged by the same flood.
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Flood Insurance FAQs
No, all homeowner’s insurance policies specifically exclude coverage related to flood loss.
Yes, that’s why it’s important to have flood insurance in place before you need it. There is a standard 30-day waiting period for new applications and endorsements to increase coverage. The only exception is when you’re purchasing homeowner’s insurance as a condition for a mortgage loan, in which case it will be effective upon closing.
A flood insurance elevation certificate is a document used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The document uses your location, building characteristics, and lowest floor elevation to estimate your flood risk.
Yes. Standard flood deductibles begin at $500. You may have a higher deductible if you’ve chosen a flood insurance policy with lower monthly premiums.
The cost of flood insurance can vary dramatically. It typically depends on your flood risk level and the amount of coverage you need.
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Learn More About Flood Insurance
Surviving a flood is a life-changing event, and you and your family will need help getting back on your feet. Flood insurance can help you protect your home and possessions when disaster strikes. To learn more about our flood insurance policy or to get a quick quote, get in touch today. Our expert agents are standing by 24/7 to assist you in your search for insurance that fits your lifestyle while staying within your budget.
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