Floodwaters can be devastating to your home and your finances. Many people believe their homeowners insurance will cover a flood loss, but this isn’t accurate. Homeowners need to purchase separate flood insurance— especially if they live in a flood-prone area, such as Suffolk County.
More than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside a high-risk flood area. Most of Long Island, NY, is located in a non-hazard zone. However, even two to three inches of water can be devastating. If a homeowner keeps an electrical extension cord or another electrical device nearby that could meet with water, it could put the entire home and their safety at risk.
The low-lying communities of greater Long Island are particularly vulnerable to flooding damage, which can strike any home, even those never flooded before. Residents of these areas face a much greater risk, and flood insurance can help protect them by providing a financial safeguard in the event of a disaster.
Does Federal Disaster Assistance Help?
Many homeowners assume the U.S. government will provide financial assistance if they suffer flooding damage. But federal disaster assistance is only available if the U.S. president formally declares the event a disaster. And, even if you do receive disaster assistance, it’s a loan that must be repaid with interest and the mortgage loan you may still owe on your damaged property.
What Are My Flood Insurance Options?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) underwrites most flood insurance. If you live in a community that participates in the NFIP, you may be able to purchase an NFIP plan. Usually, you can buy NFIP plans through a major insurer or the NFIP Direct system.
NFIP plans must comply with federally established standards. There are two types of coverage: structure insurance, which protects your house, and contents coverage, which insures the possessions inside your home. There may also be coverage for debris removal costs, loss avoidance and cost of compliance.
You may be able to receive compensation for your losses and reduce your flood recovery costs by filing a claim on your flood insurance plan.
What Protection Does Flood Insurance Provide?
Flood insurance offers protection for your home, and typically coverage extends to:
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Flood debris cleanup
- Furnace, water heater and central air conditioning
- Structural damage
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
If you live in a particular hazard area and have a federally backed mortgage, the NFIP requires that you have flood insurance. The price of your insurance premium will vary depending upon your property and its location. Lupton & Luce can help you determine what specific flood insurance best meets your needs and if you qualify to purchase FEMA flood insurance.
Flood insurance doesn’t usually take effect until 30 days after purchase. However, if your lender requires that you have flood insurance to make, increase, extend or renew your loan, then there’s no waiting period.
You may be required to purchase flood insurance if:
- You live in a designated high-risk flood zone and have a mortgage backed by a federally insured lender.
- Your lender requires its mortgage holders to have flood insurance regardless of whether you live in a high-risk zone.
- You live in a high-risk flood zone and have received disaster assistance through FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). If you choose not to purchase flood insurance, you typically won’t qualify for future aid.
No matter where you live, you’re still at risk of getting flooded. But on a positive note, flood insurance is affordable and can help financially protect you against the many damages and dangers of having your house flooded. Without it, you need to pay damages out-of-pocket, and the costs can be expensive. Flood insurance can make the difference between being able to rebuild or not. It’s a worthwhile investment in your future and your home.