Before you submit an offer on that dream home, it pays to find out if you’ll need to have flood insurance. You might be surprised.
“There are properties that you wouldn’t think would be in high-risk flood zones, but they are – that’s why the best way to know for sure is to have your lender or insurance agent check,” said Bryan Baker, regional manager with Long & Foster Insurance.
The Atlantic Coast region has about 2.4 million homes that are at risk of flooding during a hurricane storm surge. All that property was valued at $793 billion in a 2013 study by CoreLogic. (Safe to assume it has gone up since then). Flooding can come from many other sources, too. Policies are available through the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as from some private insurers.
Here are five good things to know about it:
- The Insurance Information Institute recommends having enough insurance to rebuild your home at today’s rates, should it get destroyed by a natural disaster. Most homeowners policies don’t cover flooding.
- If you are required to have it, the expense will depend on how steep your risk is, Baker said. All federally-insured loans – which most home loans are – require homeowners to carry flood insurance if the property falls within certain zones.
- You can check FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center if you’re curious whether your home might be in a flood zone, but “it’s not always the most accurate,” Baker said. He recommends asking your lender or insurance agent for a “flood certificate” – a document that provides exact flood zone information for your particular piece of property, including any dates it was re-mapped, previous flood zones, and more.
- Federal disaster assistance is only available if a disaster is declared by the federal government and usually has to be paid back. Flood insurance covers losses even if there is no declaration.
- What’s covered by NFIP? Up to $250,000 in structural damage and up to $100,000 for belongings. For more coverage, private insurance is available.
If you have questions about any kind of insurance, you can get a quote or ask a question at Long & Foster Insurance, or call 1-866-275-4534.