Flood Insurance

Bob Stowe |

Floods are in the news. Two weeks ago, 31 inches of rain in Louisiana damaged 60,000 homes and stranded 30,000 residents, with many fatalities. This was a long slow flood that will take weeks or months to completely relieve. Most of these homes around Baton Rouge were considered above elevation for a flood and had never been flooded. Most did not have flood insurance. Their home owners insurance will not pay for this type of damage.

This weekend, North Texas received enough rainfall to cause flash floods and strand residents in some areas prone to flooding. This was caused by 2 or 3 inches of rain, not the 31 inches which managed to miss us by only a few hundred miles. 31 inches in North Texas would be a catastrophe.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program website, FloodSmart.gov , there are different types of flood risk. New developments change the way land drains, covering land with buildings that reduces the grounds ability to absorb water and routes water in new directions. Tropical storms can park over your town and drop previously unimaginable amounts of water on neighborhoods with no history of floods. Flash floods are another risk. Changes in the environment, habitat and climate can exaggerate the effects of any type of flood.

Flood insurance is the only way to transfer flood risk. It can also be surprisingly cheap. These are some example rates from the national program website. For most it can be very reasonable.

According to Mara Chavez, a multi-lines representative of Swingle Collins, clients “did not think that they were eligible for flood because they did not live in a flood zone- this is a misconception. Nearly all homeowners can purchase a flood policy.”

Mara says homeowners should look for these features in a flood policy:

  • Replacement cost basis
  • Assurance that your home will be built back to code
  • Added protection for flood prone areas of the home such as basements
  • Replacement cost coverage for treasured possessions and personal property
  • Protection and coverage if your family must live elsewhere throughout repairs

The National Flood Insurance Program works with local insures to rate a homeowners flood risk as high, moderate or low risk. Flood insurance can only be purchased from an insurance agency with a maximum amount of coverage of $250,000. This is an often overlooked risk that should be discussed with your insurer.