Do you need flood insurance if you already have homeowners insurance?
Well, it depends on whether you think it will ever rain while you are in your house.
Sounds facetious—it is not. Flooding is, in fact, the #1 most common natural disaster you can encounter. Whether you live in a “flood plain” or not, you are vulnerable to the possibility that one day it will rain, and rain, and rain, and…the next thing you know, your house is sitting in water, or you are in the path of a mud slide. What recourse do you have if this happens to you?
You might think your homeowners policy covers you—but you would be wrong: a standard homeowner policy excludes flood and mudslide damage. In fact, until the late 1960s, most homeowners were unable to get insurance against flood damage—period. If your house flooded or was buried in mud, you paid for the repairs because private insurance companies were unwilling to assume that financial risk. Then, in 1968, Congress stepped in, creating the National Flood Insurance Program, and enabling countless homeowners to be able to purchase that additional protection.
Many homeowners learn only too late that flood insurance actually protects their homes and belongings from rising water or mudflow due to heavy rains or water surges. (This is true even when the rain or surge is caused by a storm.) Do not be among those people who “think” they have coverage that they do not—a moment’s consideration now can save you untold headaches later.
It can also save you money. While it is an extra purchase, in fact, flood insurance is comparatively inexpensive. Outside of high-risk areas, the average flood policy—which covers the value of the home minus the land value—will run only about $524 a year. In high-risk areas, the same coverage can run $1,800 to $2,900 a year…which is no small outlay. However, it is still frugal in comparison with a typical disaster loan of $50,000, which would cost you more than $300 a month for over 18 years! And, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, if you live in a flood plain, you are four times more likely to have a flood than a fire during the life of your 30-year mortgage.
Four times more likely than a fire? If that is a risk you do not want to gamble with, the time to buy flood protection is now. New flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period, so it is best to place coverage on your property right away, while you are still “high and dry.” After all, the only thing you know for sure about the weather is…it will change!