By Joe and Lea Capers
Every time a storm threatens our state, we are reminded of how many homeowners and business owners either do not carry flood insurance at all or have inadequate limits to cover their loss. Almost everyone in a participating community of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can buy flood insurance. Recently, Florida has become the leader in the country in encouraging private markets to respond to our needs with competitive alternatives.
Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, so it is important to have protection from flooding associated with tropical storms, hurricanes, heavy rains, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, and other conditions that impact our area.
A flood is defined by FEMA as a general and temporary condition where two or more properties of normally dry land are inundated by water. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean you won’t in the future. Flood risks are based partly on history, but also on rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, fold-control measures, and changes due to building and development.
Congress created the NFIP in 1968 to help provide financial protection for property owners whether they own a home or business, or rent, in participating communities. If purchased in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, there is no waiting period; otherwise there is usually a 30-day waiting period.
Flood-hazard maps show the different degrees of risk and this will determine the cost of the insurance. The lower the degree of risk, such as Zone X, the lower the flood insurance premium. High risk and coastal areas, such as Zones AE and VE will pay higher premiums.
The NFIP’s Dwelling Form offers coverage up to $250,000 for building property and up to $100,000 for personal property. Both should be purchased as well as excess flood for limits up to the replacement cost of the dwelling and personal property over the basic limits. The lessons recent storms and predictions of a future with bigger and stronger storms highlight more than ever the importance of flood insurance.
You can buy flood insurance through the NFIP no matter where you live if your community participates, except in Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas. For properties in these areas the private market is available.
We recommend you call an experienced insurance agency with access to the NFIP as well as private markets to help evaluate your flood exposures whether in a participating community or Coastal Barrier Resource System (CBRS).
Joe and Lea Capers are Owners of Insurance Zone, a full service commercial and personal lines independent agency with offices on 30A and 98. Call 850.424.6979.