From heavy rains to the spring thaw, news of floods fill headlines year-round, reminding many residents that standard homeowners or renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage. You never know where the next big wash out will occur, and there is no guarantee you will not be a victim – even if you live in an area that has never flooded before. While you cannot stop Mother Nature, with the help of your independent insurance agent here at Anton Insurance, you can take steps to protect yourself against the damaging effects of a flood.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The U.S. government established the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968 as a response to the poor flood insurance availability in the private market. Due to the high-cost of flood damage (flooding costs more than any other loss event annually), many insurers were unwilling to provide coverage in high or even moderate-risk areas. Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees the insurance program, which assigns premiums based on risk designations and coverage amounts.
Under the NFIP, virtually anyone in an NFIP-participating community can purchase flood protection. The coverage is available through independent insurance agents here at Anton Insurance, and it is issued in addition to (not as part of) your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
Types of NFIP Coverage
Flood insurance is for homeowners and renters both. If you are renting your home, you may only need NFIP coverage for your personal belongings. This means you will be compensated for damages to the things you own, such as your furniture and electronics. If you own your home, you may also need NFIP coverage for your house structure. This covers damages to the structure of your property, such as interior walls, flooring, cabinetry, and more.
The NFIP implements coverage caps for policy-holders. These are typically a maximum of:
- $100,000 for damages to personal belongings
- $250,000 for structural damages
If you prefer additional coverage beyond the limits available from the NFIP, talk with an agent here at Anton Insurance about the availability of supplemental flood protection that serves as secondary coverage against flood damages.
Should You Purchase Flood Insurance?
Federal law requires some homeowners to purchase flood insurance due to high-risk flood zone designations. For others, flood insurance is a lender requirement, even in low to moderate-risk areas, since statistics show that one in four flood claims occur in moderate and low-risk areas. Even if you are not required to purchase coverage by your lender or federal law, could you afford to spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on clean-up, mold removal, and repair costs after a flood? What about the cost of re-furnishing your home and replacing your clothes, shoes, bedding, and other damaged belongings?
To find out more about the flood zones in your area and how your home may be affected, input your address into FEMA’s flood map search tool. Note that flood zone designations are subject to change. Should your home be re-zoned at any point in the future, your lender will notify you if the change results in a new flood insurance purchase requirement.
Disaster Assistance vs. Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is very different from the disaster assistance provided by FEMA after major floods. With flood insurance, your out-of-pocket costs are marginalized, and the coverage is available even if the flood that damages your home does not result in a federal disaster declaration. Disaster assistance, on the other hand, is generally available only in federal disaster areas. Even then, the money is only designed to aid in the immediate costs of cleanup or paying for temporary living expenses. The cost of rebuilding or repairing your home would still be your responsibility and a cost that comes out of your own pocket. Although federal loans may be available to help with the cost, they must be repaid with interest.
Applying for Wisconsin Flood Insurance
Whether you recently purchased a home that requires flood insurance or you want to take precautions to ensure your low-risk home and belongings are well-protected against the next 100-year flood, now is the time to purchase flood protection. Although there are certain exceptions for newly purchased homes or recently re-zoned properties, NFIP policies typically come with a 30-day dormancy period before the coverage is activated.
Why Use an Independent Agent?
You cannot purchase flood insurance directly from FEMA or the National Flood Insurance Program. Instead, you must apply through an agent licensed to sell NFIP coverage. When you choose an independent agency like Anton Insurance, you are working with a team that is committed to finding you comprehensive protection for your family and your property. We can help evaluate your total coverage needs based on a wide range of factors, from the value of your home and belongings to your estimated risk factors for a flood.
Our team can also identify potential water damage gaps in your flood, homeowners or renters protection. Whether you need a supplemental private flood insurance policy or the addition of a water and sewer backup endorsement to your standard homeowner’s insurance policy, we can help you reduce your overall risk vulnerability and minimize your out-of-pocket costs after a water-related loss.
When it comes to flood insurance, sooner is always better than later. For more information about Wisconsin flood insurance options or to request your free quotes, contact Anton Insurance today. We look forward to serving you soon.