According to FEMA, flood claims occurred in every state in our country in 2016 with the average claim cost in excess of $31,000. Just because your property doesn’t sit next to a stream, river or other body of water doesn’t mean you won’t be impacted. Our recent hurricanes are a great example. Heavy rains can overwhelm drainage systems, run-off from hillsides can seep into your basements and levees can fail. Pretty much anywhere rain falls is where flooding can occur, although, rain is not always the reason. Additionally, it is important to note that flood insurance is NOT included with your standard homeowners insurance policy.

If you do experience a flood claim and have flood insurance, keep these things in mind:

  • Report your claim as soon as possible and have open and frequent communication with your insurance adjuster.
  • Photograph your damages (great if you have before pictures also saved to the cloud, not on a computer hard drive). Your insurance company will likely come out and photograph the damages as well.
  • Keep a list of all of the items you lost in the flood. Receipts are great as well as lists.
  • Take a read through your policy to ensure you understand your rights and coverage.

If you’re considering purchasing flood insurance, we can help. Flood insurance isn’t necessarily expensive. If you happen to live in a flood plain or near a body of water, chances are you’re likely going to pay a hefty sum. If you live away from typical flood areas, your premiums can be much more reasonable. Considering the average cost of a flood claim, it isn’t a bad idea to assess your risk.

If flood insurance is on your mind lately, give us a call.

For answers to everything insurance, trust the insurance agents at George A. Bell & Son. George A. Bell & Son, Inc. is a full service property and casualty, independent insurance agency serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and various other states. Founded in 1880 as Bell Brothers Fire Insurance, we continue to be a family owned agency, with the fifth and sixth generations currently continuing the legacy of what those brothers started. We value ourselves on quality insurance, top notch customer service, and a focus on making sure our clients get the best value for their money.

Hurricane season is here, and it is time to make sure that you and your family are protected from the dangers that these storms can bring. Flooding is one of the greatest risks during hurricane season – every year in the United States alone, floods kill about 140 people and cause around $6 billion worth of damage.

Even if only a few inches of water enter your home, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in repairs. Between 2008 and 2012, for instance, the average residential flood claim was $38,000.

The best way to avoid such expenses is to purchase flood insurance. 

Where Does Your House Fall In The Flood Risk Levels?

Homes are either moderate-to-low risk or high risk depending on their location. If your home falls under the first category, you may be eligible for coverage at a preferred rate, which means premiums may be as low as $129 for your house and its contents. With almost one-quarter of claims to the National Flood Insurance Program coming from moderate-to-low risk homes, flood insurance for you is just as important as if you lived in a high-risk area.

If your home is high-risk for floods, you will need to purchase a standard policy, which covers your property and its contents separately. In fact, you are required by law to hold coverage if your mortgage lender is federally regulated or insured. Your lender should inform you if you need flood insurance during the process of securing your loan.

Choosing the Correct Flood Insurance Coverage

Flood insurance covers your home, its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, permanent installations, built-in appliances, and detached garages. It also covers personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, electronics, and valuables worth up to $2,500. However, policies cover contents located on the first floor and above, but not possessions stored in the basement.

Flood insurance does not cover currency, financial losses, living expenses, possessions outside your home, nor preventable damage such as mold, moisture, and mildew.

You will normally need to wait 30 days to receive coverage; however, you can receive coverage immediately if you are securing a flood policy for a loan or mortgage. This is to avoid panic buying in the case a hurricane or storm is approaching. 

Before You Buy…Before purchasing a policy, discuss these points with your insurance agent: 

  • How much coverage you need for your home and its contents
  • The options you have to reduce your premium; for instance, if your community participates in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS), you may qualify for a CRS rating discount.
  • Whether the policy provides replacement cost value or actual cash value.

If you do not already own flood insurance, now is the time to make a purchase. Contact us at George A. Bell & Son for help and advice about finding the right insurance for your needs.