Flood Preparations - Part 2

Most people have homeowners insurance to help them recover from sudden and unexpected property loss. However, homeowners policies exclude certain losses because they are widespread, difficult to predict, or catastrophic. Floods are in this category. In turn, homeowners insurance policies typically exclude flood-related property damage.

Insurance protection is available for flood loss but only as a separate, stand-alone policy. Flood insurance is a federally backed program offered by the National Flood Insurance Program and certain private insurers. Homeowners, renters, and commercial businesses that live in a participating NFIP community can buy coverage on the structure, contents, or both. Participating communities are those that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances. Homeowners can purchase up to $250,000 in dwelling coverage and $100,000 for contents coverage. A local property insurance agent can provide coverage and pricing details. There is a 30-day waiting period before protection goes into effect, so don't delay.

Flood insurance helps victims get back on their feet more quickly following a flood event The water must cover two or more acres of normally dry land or surround two or more properties. Direct physical damage to the building is covered on a replacement cost basis (repair without subtracting for age or wear and tear). Personal property is insured for actual cash value (replacement cost minus depreciation).

Those without flood insurance have fewer options. Federal disaster assistance may be available through a low- or no-interest loan. However, this money requires a Presidential disaster declaration and must be repaid. Most floods do not receive this designation. Victims may qualify for a disaster grant, but the payout is likely to be far less than you need to repair or replace damaged property.