The old saying, better safe than sorry, certainly applies to protecting your home and belongings from the ravaging effects of flooding. Even those in low-risk areas can experience the devastation of a flood. Circumstances beyond your control, such as blocked drainage pipes, rapid snow melt and flash flooding have the ability to affect anyone, no matter what flood-risk zone you reside in. Protect your home and assets by considering the need for flood insurance before the flood waters begin to creep into your neighborhood.
Assess your risk. Look at local flood maps made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These maps detail the various flood risk zones and attempt to predict the risk of flooding in your area based on historical data and engineering assessments. Find your area and determine if you reside in a high or moderate-to-low risk are for flooding. Use the flood risk profile tool found online at FloodSmart.gov (see Resources) to help determine your risk, estimate premiums, and locate a local insurance agent if necessary.
Get to know the requirements related to flood insurance. Purchase flood insurance if you live in a high-risk zone and your mortgage is through a federally insured or regulated lender, as required. Keep in mind that flood insurance typically comes with a 30-day waiting period before a claim can be made.
Talk to your lender and insurance agent. Ask about premiums and rates associated with flood insurance in your area. Weigh the costs against the benefits. Determine the cost of coverage for both your home and its contents. Understand the variables that go into determining premiums, such as the age of the house, flood risk, and elevation of the lowest floor in relation to the flood plain. Ask about the various deductible options.
Take note of your ability to recover financially from a flood. Assess the true value of your home's contents. Estimate the cost related to replacing contents and repairing your house. Visit FloodSmart.gov and use the interactive tool for estimating the cost of flooding.
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