While homeowners insurance covers wind-related damage from hurricanes, experts say that property owners should also consider an affordable flood insurance policy to handle damaged caused by torrential rains and storm surges hurricanes also bring.
The 2015 hurricane and tropical storm season has been relatively quiet, so far, but hurricane analysis data from the past century indicates that most devastating storms strike between August all the way into September. In fact, the five costliest hurricanes in recent U.S. history occurred in the latter half of Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1-Nov. 30:
- Aug. 25-30, 2005: Category 3 Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and left $108 billion in damage.
- Oct. 28-31, 2012: Superstorm Sandy devastated New York, New Jersey, and parts of the Northeast. It was a category 1 hurricane at its peak that left $50 billion in damage.
- Sept. 12-14, 2008: Hurricane Ike, a category 2 hurricane, caused $29.5 billion in damage.
- August 24-26, 1992: Hurricane Andrew cost $26.5 billion after ravaging South Florida.
- October 24, 2005: Hurricane Wilma resulted in $21.5 billion worth of damage in Florida and elsewhere.
The National Flood Insurance Program’s website, floodsmart.gov, recommends residential properties at risk of storm surge get a flood policy, in addition to their homeowners policy. If you live in a low to moderate risk flood zone, a policy can cost as little as $167 per year for the minimum structural coverage of $8,000, according to NFIP.
“Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect,” according to an NFIP statement. “That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance.”
A moderate- to low-risk policy, also called “Preferred Risk Policy” is optional to property owners who are not in FEMA designated, high-risk flood zones. But despite the lower risk, NFIP reports that about one in five flood damage claims are made by property owners in this category.
High-risk policies are typically more expensive as the property is deemed at higher risk of flood damage. A high-risk policy is required for homes that carry a mortgage in these FEMA mapped flood zones and premiums can cost up to several thousand dollars annually. However, homeowners can take several steps to mitigate potential flood damage and reduce these costs.
When calculating your flood insurance needs, there are two types of coverage to consider: building/structural and contents. Building property coverage will insure the building and its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, central AC, furnaces, water heaters and other equipment. The personal contents property covers personal belongings, such as clothing furniture and electronic equipment, carpets not included in building coverage, and more. See a list of what’s covered and not covered on floodsmart.gov.
Flood insurance is available through NFIP licensed agents, like InsuraMatch. For a free flood evaluation and quote, call us at 855-244-7671.