“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and I’ve never seen flooding like this.”
That’s a common saying to hear from the victims of floods, especially those who thought that they lived outside the flood zone of a nearby creek, river, or ocean and who now realize that their homeowner’s policy, condo unit-owner’s policy, renter’s policy or even business policy does not cover the damage caused by a flood.
Did you know that everywhere could be considered a flood zone? Flooding can be a result of heavy rain, melting snow, flash floods, hurricanes, tropical storms, land development, and even broken dams.
With over 60 inches of rain last year, 2018 became the fifth-wettest year on record in the contiguous U.S. Earlier analysis by Climate Central showed that 42 of the 48 states in the contiguous U.S. will see increased runoff risks from heavy rain by 2050 and with heavy rain infrastructure, homes, and businesses can be damaged or destroyed.
As recent floods are showing, you don’t have to live in a flood zone to be a target of flood damage. In fact, every year, a significant percentage of flood damage happens to property that is NOT in a flood zone. Most of these property owners do not carry flood insurance, so they are left to fend for themselves. It only takes a little excess water or moisture to cause serious issues to your home. The reason water can cause so much destruction is that when it spreads through flooring, wood, drywall and other porous building materials, it compromises the structure and at times, the damage is irreversible. The water can also leave behind dangerous mold growth that can be harmful to your health and the health of your family.
Traditionally, flood insurance was sold only through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was backed by the Federal Government (FEMA). However, Private Flood Insurance now gives many property owners a choice. You may now be eligible to purchase flood insurance through a private insurance company at a lower rate … often a MUCH lower rate.
This private coverage is typically written by what are known as Surplus Lines Insurance Companies, which means they are not licensed by the PA Insurance Department and are not covered by the PA Property and Casualty Guaranty Association, but this has nothing to do with the financial strength and stability of the carrier.
Private flood insurance covers the structure of your home and its contents from water damage caused by a flood. What separates this option from the other type of flood insurance policies, is that it receives no backing from the federal government. Federal coverage is paid out by the government, and is financed through taxpayer money. Policies under the federal program are able to pay out flood damage claims for as long as the program receives funds. A private flood insurer, on the other hand, is a for-profit company that either relies on a reinsurer, or on money collected from premiums to pay out damages to claimants.
Private flood insurers can offer consumers higher coverage and provide coverage for a greater number of possessions. This is useful if you have furs, jewelry, fine art or collectibles that could be damaged by flood waters. Private flood insurance can also pay for living expenses in the event your home becomes uninhabitable. This type of coverage is typical of regular homeowner’s insurance policies, but is not included in flood insurance sold by the federal government.
Bottom line, if you own property, whether it’s your home, your business, or as an investment, you should at least be considering flood insurance. And the good news is, you may no longer be locked in to dealing with the government program or the government rates. If your agent has not informed you of this new option and you might even remotely be interested to see if you qualify…contact us.
With more than 50 years’ experience in helping homeowners and renters in Lancaster PA and its surrounding communities, Ross Insurance Agency is ready to provide the personalized guidance you need to protect your home or personal property.
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