If it rains, it can flood. Flooding is the most common and most damaging natural disaster in the country. In Florida, flood risk is higher due to the state’s frequency of storms and proximity to water. Despite this, most insurance policies do not cover flooding. Don’t make assumptions: check your policy before it’s too late.
Learn more about flooding hazards here.
Flood insurance is a valuable investment available to everyone: homeowners, business owners, condo unit owners and renters. Depending on the risk of where you live or own a business, as well as the provider you choose when purchasing flood insurance, policies may vary in price. Although the cost of another insurance policy may seem unnecessary, it could save you in the long run from flood damage costs and help you recover faster. Remember: just one inch of flood water can cause more than $25,000 in damage.
To find out the risk level of your property location, visit FloodSmart.gov/Flood-Map-Zone
Flood insurance claims can be filed anytime your property experiences flooding impacts. Flood insurance can cover both a property and its contents, and a claim can be filed in the event of losses directly caused by a flooding event. A flooding event is considered to be any flooding that affects two or more acres of land or two or more properties.
Although you can purchase flood insurance at any time, waiting until a hurricane or major storm is threatening your home may be too late. Many policies take upwards of 30 days after purchase to take effect.
The National Flood Insurance Program is a pre-disaster flood mitigation and insurance protection program designed to reduce the escalating cost of disasters. The National Flood Insurance Program makes federally backed flood insurance available to residents and business owners. Standard flood insurance by the National Flood Insurance Program generally covers physical damages directly caused by flooding within the limits of the coverage purchased. Private providers may have higher limits or broader coverage compared to National Flood Insurance Program policies.
Regardless of which policy you select for your business or family, any coverage is better than none. If your property experiences flooding impacts from a disaster, it is not guaranteed you will be able to receive federal assistance. If your area has not received a Presidential Disaster Declaration, you will not receive assistance. A Presidential Disaster Declaration makes federal assistance available under FEMA. When there is an official Presidential Disaster Declaration, National Flood Insurance Program policyholders are encouraged to apply for FEMA disaster assistance in addition to their flood insurance claim. If your area does receive a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the average payout by FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program is only about $5,100 in Florida. With the National Flood Insurance Program, claim payments average around $29,000.
For more information, visit National Flood Insurance Program or call 1-800-621-FEMA, TDD# 1-800-427-5593.
If you need to file a flood insurance claim, be informed and prepared so that recovery can move quickly and smoothly. Before a disaster strikes, have updated photos of your home or business so that insurance providers can clearly examine your property and belongings. If your property has experienced flood impacts, take extensive photos of damages before cleaning up. This will allow insurance providers to compare before and after photos to determine the extent of damages and arrange the best claim payment possible. As you’re cleaning, make a detailed list of lost or damaged items. If you have original receipts for items, hold onto those for documentation in your claim. After gathering all the necessary information, contact your insurance company to begin filing your claim.
For additional tips on how to file a flood insurance claim, visit FloodSmart.gov/Start.
For additional information on flooding, its impacts and property insurance, visit the following websites:
Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation Flood Insurance page provides consumer resources and information on private flood insurance options.
FloodSmart, developed by FEMA, provides information on buying and renewing flood insurance, flood zones and flood risks and costs.
Ready.gov’s Floods page provides safety advice for before, during and after a flood so that residents can prepare in advance.
FEMA’s Flood Insurance page allows residents to find out more information on the National Flood Insurance Program and how to sign up.