Flooding can occur anytime, anywhere. Even if you are not required to purchase flood insurance, serious consideration should be given to purchasing it anyway.
Homeowners insurance may cover fire and wind damage, but almost never covers damage from flooding. Flooding is by far nature's most common natural disaster and damages associate with floods can easily total $25,000 or more. It is also important to consider that 25% of all flood insurance claims are for structures located outside the special flood hazard areas (SFHAs). Just because your home or business is located outside of the SFHA, or in a moderate-to-low risk area, doesn't mean that you are not susceptible to flooding and just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.
Because Leon County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), all County residents qualify to purchase NFIP flood insurance.
Without flood insurance, losses must be covered out-of-pocket. Some limited relief might be obtainable through government aid; however, government assistance is not available automatically, it is offered only when the President makes an official disaster declaration. Less than half of flooding events are "declared disasters". Declarations require rather widespread damage. Most often, when government aid is available, it comes in the form of an interest bearing loan.
When is Flood Insurance Required
Under federal law, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory if the property has a federally backed mortgage on a home or building located in a high-risk area or if property owners have received financial assistance from the Federal Government following a Presidentially declared disaster. In high-risk areas there is a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead in a moderate-to-low risk area, federal law does not require flood insurance; however, a lender can still require it. In fact, nearly 25% of all NFIP flood claims occur in these moderate-to-low risk areas.
Types of Coverage
Coverage is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Policy rates vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what is covered, and the property's flood risk.
Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first type covers your building, the latter covers your possessions. Neither cover the land or property and belongings outside the structure such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, decks, patios, fences, sea walls, swimming pools, living expenses, vehicles, or financial losses.
Building coverage includes:
- the insured building and its foundation
- electric and plumbing systems
- central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
- large and built-in appliances
- permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floor
Contents coverage includes:
- clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- portable and window air conditioners
- portable microwaves and dishwashers
- carpeting that is not permanently installed
- clothing washers and dryers
The maximum coverage limits under a standard flood policy are $250,000 for a single family home building ($500,000 for businesses) and $100,000 for single-family home contents ($500,000 for businesses). The coverage limit for renter contents is $100,000.
Structures located in lower risk areas, such as Zone X, may qualify for a "preferred risk" policy which provides the same coverage at substantially lower rates.
Don't wait until it is too late to buy a flood insurance policy. Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period—from date of purchase—before your policy goes into effect.
Information on Flood Insurance
Your homeowner's insurance agent most likely can provide you with all the information you need and answer any questions you have. Additional information can be obtained directly from the National Flood Insurance Program or by calling 1.888.379.9531