How Much Flood Insurance Do I Need and When Is It Required?

Posted on May 28, 2020
How Much Flood Insurance Do I Need and When Is It Required?

Flood insurance is something that everyone, regardless of where you live in the United States, should consider. Even if you don’t live in what is traditionally identified as a high-risk flood zone, you should research and understand the benefits of flood insurance.

Is Flood Insurance Included in Your Homeowner’s Policy?

While every plan and policy is different, the majority of homeowner insurance policies do not provide protection against flood damage. Water damage coverage in general may very narrow and specific to things like pipes bursting, swimming pools leaking, leaking roofs, broken water mains, etc. and not to natural disasters, like floods. 

The likelihood is that you’ll need to purchase a separate insurance policy to protect your home from the devastation flooding can cause.

How Destructive Can Floods Be?

The damage and destruction left behind by floodwaters can vary greatly depending on mitigating factors, such as these:

  • How deep was the water?
  • How long did the water remain in the home?
  • Was the flood related to tidal surge? 
  • Did the flood remove the home from its foundation? 
  • Did the flood wash out lower floors? 

As little as one inch of floodwaters coming into your home can do devastating damage depending on how long the water remained, what the temperature was at the time and other factors. Think of all the things you may need to completely replace with only one inch of water inside your home:

  • Carpeting
  • Flooring
  • Walls
  • Baseboard
  • Insulation
  • Some furniture

Don’t forget the potential costs of mold remediation if the flooding occurred during warmer months and stayed for a while. This can create mold and mildew problems that spread faster than anyone wants to admit. If your home has ducting in the floors, the problem may become even more widespread.

The costs can add up quickly. The deeper the water, the higher the potential costs.

How Much Flood Insurance Do You Need?

People who purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are limited to specific maximum coverage amounts. For homeowners, that amount is currently $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for the contents. 

Very few residents of New Jersey, New York, and surrounding areas find that sufficient for a widespread flooding event that destroys homes completely. However, if flooding only damages a few inches inside the home or even a couple of feet, it may be sufficient to repair the damage to the home itself and replace and/or repair damaged personal possessions.

The bottom line is that many people find the NFIP maximum coverage far too limiting and prefer to purchase flood insurance that exceeds those limits to protect their homes. If you feel your home has a much greater value than $250,000 or you owe more than that on your home, it is in your best interests to fully insure your home to the actual value of the property and your possessions. 

The other limiting factor with the NFIP comes in the form of personal property. Not only does it limit your protection to $100,000, but it also limits your protection to the “actual cash value” of the property. This means they subtract depreciation based on the age of the property. In terms of antiques and heirlooms, the actual protection provided is minimal. It certainly doesn’t live up to the real-world value or personal value of these items.

Your best course of action when determining how much flood insurance you need is to work with an independent insurance agency, like Otterstedt Insurance Agency, to determine the replacement value of your home and personal property and get flood insurance that best reflects those values. 

When is Flood Insurance Required?

People who have federally backed mortgages on their homes (such as FHA loans, HUD loans, and VA loans) are required to carry enough flood insurance to cover the bank’s investment in the house.

Additionally, some private lenders require you to have flood insurance for your home for the duration of your mortgage. Not all do, though, so you will need to check with your lender if you’re not pursuing a federally-backed loan for your mortgage.

Why Otterstedt Insurance Agency for Your Flood Insurance Needs?

Otterstedt Insurance Agency has been serving the needs of New Jersey (and surrounding states) residents since 1919.  We’ve managed so long in this business because we are committed to meeting your needs and not simply selling insurance.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get the flood insurance protection you require for your home.

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