Flood Insurance New Year’s Resolutions
At the beginning of any year, many of us are setting New Year’s resolutions. Of course, these are usually personal health and wellness goals. But our area of expertise is flood insurance, not green juice, so let’s set some goals for protecting the health of your home and well-being of your family. Here are three resolutions to protect your home from the effects of flooding:
1. I will know my flood risk.
Your risk of falling victim to a flood depends on a variety of local features, from rivers to wildfire burn scars to levees. Rather than judging your flood risk based on observation, it is best to get an expert opinion.
The most readily available tool for assessing your flood risk is FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center, which you can visit here. This will tell you what type of flood zone you live in, e.g. Zone A, Zone VE, etc. The key information to look for is whether or not you are in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Flood insurance is required in these flood zones — but that doesn’t mean other zones are immune to flooding.
FEMA’s mapping tool provides a historical, big-picture perspective, but they do not provide complete information and may underestimate flood risk in certain areas. Private flood insurers can provide alternate mapping tools. In addition, nonprofit First Street offers a free flood risk search tool called FloodFactor, which you can access here. The mapping results are easy to read and comprehend.
If you live in a coastal, hurricane-prone area, you may also live in an evacuation zone. Check your state’s emergency management website for information on hurricane evacuation zones and what you need to do if state officials issue an evacuation order.
2. I will protect my family and myself from floods.
Everyone needs to take steps to protect their home from floods, even people outside Special Flood Hazard Areas. Around 20 percent of flood insurance claims come from outside high-risk flood zones, according to FEMA. Protecting your home from flood damage can be a major undertaking, involving retrofits and landscaping.
However, even if you cannot afford to undertake major renovations, you can ready your home, your family and even your pets for potential flood events. The first step is covered above – knowing your risk – but here’s what else you should do to prepare:
Assemble an evacuation kit. If you need to leave in a rush, you want to have critical supplies readily available. Put together a bag with everything you will need to grab in a hurry should a major storm or flood threaten your home. Store critical documents or digital backups in waterproof containers.
Have a plan. Where will you go if you have to evacuate and what is your route there? If you can’t leave, what will you do? How will you stay in touch with family members? Where will your pets go? Ready.gov offers a family emergency planning template here, which you can download and complete with the rest of your family.
Get weather updates and disaster warning alerts. Many cell phones have emergency alert systems, but you can also turn to the National Weather Service or local news stations for timely, accurate information. Social media posts by friends and family are not reliable and safe sources of information in a natural disaster.
Before a storm, ready your home. Stock up on non-perishable food items, medication and first aid supplies well in advance of severe weather. Secure your home and property by closing all windows and doors and bringing patio furniture, decorations and toys indoors. Charge cell phones and tune your radio to a station with weather alerts.
3. I will understand my flood insurance options.
Flooding is the most frequently occurring natural disaster in the United States. As we mentioned above, living outside a high-risk flood zone does not make you immune to flooding. Most homeowners policies do not include coverage for flood damage, making it critical to have flood insurance which can help you recover if you are affected by a flood.
Many people obtain flood insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, it is not the best option for many homeowners. FEMA flood maps are often outdated and may not provide the most accurate or up to date information about a property’s flood exposure. As a result, some homeowners are charged unnecessarily high premiums that do not accurately reflect their property’s risk.
Private flood insurers (like FloodPrice.com) use additional information to more precisely evaluate your home’s flood risk and calculate your premium. Plus, they offer coverages that the NFIP does not, including coverage for basement contents, additional living expenses and the ability to cover additional structures (like sheds) with a single policy.
You have a right to shop around for flood insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about the options available through the private insurance market or visit https://www.floodprice.com/quote to check out our quick quoting tool. We make it easy to get a quote — answer a few simple questions about your home to see your price in minutes. If you need additional information to achieve your 2021 homeowner’s resolutions, call or email us as at 866-503-5663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.