Every area is a potential flood zone in Florida during hurricane season. If your home isn’t protected, you could face paying out-of-pocket for expensive damages. Preparing for hurricane season, including buying or updating a flood insurance policy, can help you rebuild without breaking the bank.
What is Flood Insurance?
Though not required for every home, a Florida flood insurance policy is a prudent investment due to the state’s low elevation and high hurricane risk. For instance, when Hurricane Irma struck in 2017, it affected homes in areas only expected to flood once every century. As a result, many homeowners were caught off-guard and faced enormous costs due to damages.
If you live in a high-risk flood area and a federally regulated or insured lender holds your mortgage, FEMA requires you to obtain flood insurance. Even people in moderate or low-risk areas may be required by their lenders to have flood insurance.
Standard flood insurance policies obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provide replacement cost coverage capped at $250,000 for structural damage and cash value coverage capped at $100,000 for personal possession losses. However, NFIP policies don’t cover water-related damage that is not directly caused by flooding.
Who Qualifies for Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is available to anyone, including homeowners, renters, and business owners in one of the 23,000 participating NFIP communities. How much coverage you qualify for depends on your flood zone. If your community doesn’t participate in the NFIP, you may still be eligible for coverage through a private carrier.
Where to Buy Flood Insurance
You can purchase an NFIP policy from ABC Dennis Insurance or any of the country’s insurance agents who offer it. Most homeowners choose their flood insurance from the agent who provides their homeowners, renters, or auto insurance policy.
In recent years, Florida has made it easier for companies to offer private flood insurance as an alternative to the NFIP. Some private flood insurance companies also provide coverage in a shorter timeframe, with policies going into effect in as few as three days.
How Do You Pay Flood Insurance?
If you’re a first-time buyer of flood insurance, you submit payment through your agent, who then submits the application to FEMA. Some homeowners pay for flood insurance through an escrow account with their lender.
Flood insurance policies do not automatically renew; you must renew the policy each year. The NFIP or your private insurance provider will send you a reminder in the weeks leading up to the policy’s expiration date.
The official Florida hurricane season runs from June to November, but most storm activity historically occurs from August through October. Since there’s often a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy goes into effect, don’t wait until a storm’s approaching, or you may be too late.
ABC Dennis Insurance
Besides flood insurance, we can help with all your insurance needs. As an independent agency, we find the best insurance coverage with the most competitive rates. This is important because no insurance company can meet every insurance need. So, we shop multiple insurance carriers to find the coverage that best fits our customers’ every need.