How To Know If You Are In a Flood Zone and Need InsurancePosted on Apr 19, 2018
While many people can certainly use and benefit from flood insurance, people who live in areas that are designated as flood zones must have flood insurance if they have home mortgages. Even if you do not live in a designated flood zone, it is important to understand your risks and the possible ramifications of failing to have flood insurance if a flood occurs. But, how do you know if your home is in a flood zone requiring flood insurance?
Using the FEMA Flood Map
Fortunately, homeowners today have access to a useful tool created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Before using the flood zone tool, it’s important to understand that living outside of designated flood zones does not mean you are not at risk of flooding. The flood zone simply indicates areas where flooding is likely; not areas where flooding is a possibility.
New Jersey residents have other tools to help you determine if your home might be in a likely flood zone, including the NJ Flood Mapper. This tool can help you make decisions about your flood insurance needs even if you do not live in an area where mortgage companies require you to invest in flood insurance for your New Jersey home.
What You Need to Know about Floods and Flood Insurance
Before you decide to skip flood insurance coverage altogether, there are a few things you need to know about floods. These are some of the critical details you should keep in mind when weighing whether to buy flood insurance or not.
- Floods can happen anywhere. In fact, more than 20 percent of flood claims made through the NFIP (national flood insurance program) come from locations that are not designed as high-risk locations for floods.
- It takes 30 days for flood insurance protection to go into effect when purchasing a new policy unless you are buying or refinancing your home. This means you must plan ahead to protect your home from the ravages floodwaters leave behind.
- One inch of water in your home or business costs, on average, $27,000 to repair. More water equals more damage and higher costs to repair.
- Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy probably specifically excludes flood damage from protection.
- Even if you do not live in a high-risk area for flooding, some lenders may require you to purchase flood insurance while you have a mortgage.
Understanding the limitations of homeowners insurance (and the nature of floods in general) will help you understand why everyone should consider flood insurance. For people living in areas that aren’t currently high on the radar for flooding, it means you have access to lower rates for flood insurance than those who live in high-risk areas. It does not mean that you have zero risk for flooding. It merely means that other areas are more likely to experience flooding.
Who Really Needs Flood Insurance Protection?
Anyone who owns or rents a home or business should consider flood insurance. Floods can occur anywhere in the country, and it only takes a little rain and the right set of circumstances to make it happen. You need it whether you live in a single-family home, townhouse or condo.
You don’t need tropical systems, melting polar ice caps, or monsoon seasons to make floods occur. But, when floods do occur, the destruction they leave behind is utterly devastating on a physical and emotional level. Without the proper insurance protection, you will add financial devastation into the mix as well. The costs of repairing damage and replacing what was destroyed are more than the average family, or small business can afford.
Flood insurance may not be required for all homes in all situations, but it is one type of insurance the average homeowner and family simply cannot afford to do without.
Don’t let your home get caught unprotected when floods occur. Remember, your homeowners insurance policy most likely doesn’t cover floods.