By Jennifer Scherff, My Flood Insurance
We need to talk about flood insurance. The topic of flooding has been very relevant lately, with hurricane season at its peak.
However, whenever flood insurance is mentioned, the room goes quiet. In fact, a recent survey found that 60% of homeowners in high-risk flood areas do not even have flood insurance. From the growing coverage gap in Florida, it can be concluded that many do not have a full understanding of flood insurance.
“Working in flood insurance for years has taught me that many misconceptions surround flooding in general,” explained Amanda Bryant with My Flood Insurance.
One of the biggest and perhaps most dangerous myths is the belief that if you are in a FEMA-designated low-risk flood zone you do not need flood insurance. As the many residents of the Florida Panhandle could tell you, low-risk does not mean “no-risk”. Hurricane Michael destroyed many areas of the panhandle in FEMA low-risk flood zones. Some of these same areas just received up to 30 inches of rain from Hurricane Sally.
For property owners in FEMA-designated high-risk flood zones, flood insurance is required if you hold a federal mortgage on the property. Yet many residents outside of these mandatory zones opt out of this valuable protection.
Florida, the most flood-prone state in America, carries an estimated 1.7 million active flood insurance policy. Yet, the most recent census shows over 6 million households in the state, showing a large coverage gap still exists for the peninsula.
Many homeowners are under the false belief that their home insurance policy will cover flood damage, but this is not the case.
“A standalone flood insurance policy is required to cover your property for flooding and storm surge, two very destructive forces of a hurricane,” said Bryant. Unfortunately, as we have seen with many devastating storms, often this lesson is learned after flooding has already damaged the property.
Now you might be thinking, “Hurricane season is halfway over, isn’t it too late to purchase flood insurance?”
While the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect, private flood insurance options do not. For a new private flood policy, the waiting period varies between zero and 14 days, meaning in some cases your coverage can begin the day you purchase the policy.
This year has been full of unknowns, from the pandemic to a very active and unpredictable hurricane season. Despite these uncertainties, you can be in control of one thing: protecting your home and family from experiencing an uninsured flood loss.
Jen Scherff is the Project Manager for My Flood Insurance, a new portal that allows consumers and insurance agents to instantly receive flood insurance quotes from multiple, top-rated carriers. My Flood Insurance was designed by Aurora Insurance Technologies, a partnership with National Flood Insurance, LLC and Shoothill, Ltd.
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.