Hurricanes & Flood Insurance

Hurricanes & Flood Insurance

September 12, 2017

Hurricane Harvey blasted the Gulf Coast region and caused a catastrophic flood disaster in Southeast Texas and Houston – the 4th largest city in the country. As a tropical storm, Harvey dropped 40-52 inches of rainfall in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.

According to a recent USA Today article, about 80% of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance. That means families with flooded basements, soaked furniture and water-damaged walls will have to dig deep into their pockets or take on more debt to fix up their homes. Some may be forced to sell, if they can, and leave their communities. With Harvey, only two of 10 homeowners have coverage. Why did all these people not have flood insurance beforehand?

Houston is relatively flat and homes were not in a high-risk flood zone V or A (also known as a Special Flood Hazard Area) that would require them to have flood insurance. However, in our experience, just because your home is not in a high hazard zone does not mean you should not purchase flood insurance or at least look into it.

Most standard homeowners policies don’t cover flooding. In our experience, if the bank doesn’t require it most people don’t feel the need to purchase it. While homeowners in a high hazard designated flood zone will be required by their mortgage company to purchase flood insurance, a typical policy can cost around $600 per year purchased through the National Flood Insurance program which is managed by FEMA. If you’re located in a low risk area X zone, the rates are lower.

Remember, flooding can happen anywhere and not just near bodies of water such as oceans, lakes and rivers etc.

As mentioned in Trusted Choice, much of Rhode Island’s coast is located within the flood plain, and is designated a high flood risk area by FEMA. While areas closer to Bristol Harbor, Warren’s Kickemuit River and Narragansett Bay may be more prone to flooding, you should consider looking into flood insurance even if you don’t live in a flood zone as that doesn’t mean that your house is immune to a strong storm, heavy rains etc.

Look at the Rhode Island Floodplain and check too see what zone you are in and what your risk of flooding is. Zone X has the least risk while Zones V and A have a high risk for flooding. Homes within zones V and A are required by law to have flood insurance if the home was purchased on a federal lone, any federally backed interaction or a reversed mortgage.

If you have water in your basement an no homes around you do, then this is NOT a flood. If your pipe bursts and pours water into your basement, this is NOT a flood. But if torrential rain make your neighborhood streets look more like rivers than streets, this IS a flood and you might need flood insurance.

For Rhode Islanders, as you can see if you are a homeowner, business owner, or renter, it is highly recommended that you look into your own flood risk regardless Purchasing flood insurance can save you hundreds, even thousands in repair expenses.of where your home is located.