Get the facts before buying flood insurance in Florida.
Most savvy homeowners have insurance to protect themselves, property, and belongings in the event of a disaster. Unfortunately, these same homeowners usually don’t possess flood insurance. Flood damage is more common than you might think, especially in Florida. What’s more, your standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance needs to be purchased separately. In this article, Kirby Soar Insurance wants to make sure you have all the facts before buying flood insurance in Florida.
#1 Flood Zones & Flood Insurance
If you live in a FEMA designated flood zone and have a mortgage on your home, you are required to carry flood insurance. A flood insurance policy is separate from a homeowners policy and is available from private providers or through. Flood zones are identified because of their chance of experiencing a 100-year flood; in other words, this refers to a flood event with a 1% chance each year of happening.
#2 You don’t have to live in a flood zone to be at risk of flood damage.
One single major weather event, such as an extended period of rain or a hurricane, can flood your home whether you live in a FEMA designated flood zone or not. Living in Central Florida, you know there is a risk of serious weather such as a tropical storm or hurricane on an annual basis. And if you lack the proper insurance and a flood hits, the damage could be devastating. Lizzie Litzow, a spokesman for FEMA, recently told Consumer Reports, “Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster and can happen anywhere. Just 1 inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage to a home or apartment.”
#3 You can choose between 2 types of flood insurance.
Most residential flood insurance policies are purchased and covered through the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP is administered through FEMA and underwritten by the federal government, but it can be purchased through a wide variety of insurance agents who sell homeowner’s policies. Private insurers also can sell private flood insurance coverage. Just remember, whichever option you choose, it takes 30 days after the date of purchase for the coverage to become active.
#4 What does flood insurance cover?
Essential systems in your home: This may include your electrical system, plumbing system, furnace, HVAC, heat pump, sump pump, or water heater. Any cistern also qualifies as an essential system, as does solar energy equipment, water tanks, and fuel tanks.
Appliances: The list of covered items includes typical household items: washing machines, dryers, ranges, and other built-in appliances such as refrigerators and freezers—as well as the food inside any fridge or freezer. If you have any window AC units, they also should be covered.
Carpeting: Flood insurance should cover any type of carpeting on an unfinished or wooden floor, whether that carpet has been installed permanently or not.
Window treatments: Blinds and curtains should be covered by a standard flood policy.
Exterior buildings: If you have a detached shed or garage and it sustains flood damage, you can earmark up to 10% of total coverage toward that structure, but any of those allocated funds are going to be subtracted from your total amount of benefits.
Personal property: This covers any of your belongings: clothing, furniture, personal electronics, etc., but it won’t cover any personal property that happened to be stored in the basement when the flood occurred. If you had any high-value items such as jewelry, artwork, and furs, your flood insurance will cover up to $2,500 of the value.
Flood insurance also should cover the following:
- Cabinets (only the ones that suffered damage)
- Foundation walls
- Staircases attached to the building
- Anchorage systems
#5 What flood insurance does not cover.
Certain types of damage: Your flood insurance will not cover damage from a sewer backup unless it was a direct result of flooding. Any type of damage from earth movement, whether caused by a flood or not, also won’t be covered. Neither is damage from moisture, mildew, or mold unless it can be attributed directly to the flood.
Other items that are not covered by flood insurance include:
- Additional living expenses, such as temporary housing or hotel costs if your home is left unable to be occupied.
- Loss of access or use of the property
- Any financial loss due to disruption of business if you worked from home
- Any and all property and belongings outside the home, including trees, plants, walkways, decks, patios, fences, pools, and hot tubs
- Any currency, precious metals, and/or valuable papers damaged in the flood, including certificates of stock
- Most vehicles and their parts
Buying Flood Insurance in Plant City, Hillsborough and Polk County
Living in Central Florida, you can’t afford not to have flood insurance. Because Kirby Soar Insurance is an independent insurance office, we can work with NFIP plans or private insurers to find the best coverage for you. The heart of hurricane season will be here before we know it. If you don’t have flood insurance, you need to purchase a policy as soon as possible so it is active in time. To find out more or get a quote online, call (813) 752-1680 or come by our office at 809 South Evers Street in Plant City.