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Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Many conditions can cause flooding: spring thaws, heavy rains, hurricanes and the rapid accumulation of rain after a wildfire are just some of them. And, while certain areas are prone to flooding, it can happen anywhere and at any time. According to Fema.gov, floods are the No. 1 natural disaster in the United States. "All it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and its contents," the federal government-run website declares.
So, are you prepared? Beyond readying your home and developing a family emergency plan, being prepared for a flood means understanding a bit about insurance.
HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE DOES NOT TYPICALLY COVER FLOODS
Most important is the fact that a standard homeowners insurance policy typically doesn't cover flood damage. And because floods can occur anywhere, you should consider purchasing a separate National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy through an insurance agent. The NFIP is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Not everyone understands the need for a separate flood policy. In fact, research shows that there's a common misconception that homeowners insurance covers flood damage when, in fact, it typically doesn't. In a recent survey, 44 percent of Americans said they believed they were covered for weather-related floods, when, in fact, only 15 percent reported having purchased a flood insurance policy through the NFIP.
HOW MUCH DOES FLOOD INSURANCE COST?
Costs for flood insurance will vary depending on how much coverage you buy, what the policy covers (does it just cover the structure? the contents of your home?) and your property's flood risk. The NFIP offers flood risk maps to help you identify your community's level of risk.