Hurricane Katrina Reminder of Importance of Flood Insurance

Post By in News on Sep 04, 2015

2005: Hurricane Katrina Flooding Zone Depths

Levee breaches from Katrina’s monster surge left the city under more than 10 feet of floodwater in some neighborhoods. A look back at the maximum standing water depths at the height of the flood, when Lake Pontchartrain leveled off with New Orleans in 2005.

This week marked the 10- year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which makes it the ideal time to consider the benefits of flood insurance.

Katrina was a truly horrific storm, according to FEMA it was the single most catastrophic natural disaster in the United States history, and total damage topped $108 billion making it the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history.

In the decade since hurricane Katrina wrecked havoc on Louisiana and surrounding states, flood maps have been redrawn, and flood insurance rates have gone up substantially to reflect the actual flood risk in most areas.

While the new rates can be expensive, experts recommend homeowners in flood risk areas absolutely carry a flood insurance policy.

Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Flood Damage

Many homeowners seem to be unaware of the fact that the standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. While anyone who resides in a high- risk flood zone will usually be required to carry a flood policy by their mortgage lender, even those in moderate and low risk zones should consider buying coverage.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III.org) flood damage occurs in 90% of all natural disasters in the United States, which makes it one of the nation’s most common natural disasters. In addition, according to FEMA statistics, a whopping 25% of flood claims are paid out to households located in low to moderate flood risk areas.

Floods can cause extensive damage, between 2008 and 2012, the average flood insurance claim was $38,000 according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) statistics.

Skipping flood insurance can be an expensive mistake. Without a separate flood policy homeowners are on the hook for all damage done by floodwaters.

What You Need to Know about Flood Insurance

In the United States, flood insurance is provided by the federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While flood insurance is sold through traditional insurance companies the federal government sets the rates in the various flood zone areas.

Flood insurance is available in two separate types of policies, one that covers your home and other structures, and one that protects your contents. The national flood insurance program does put limits on the amount of coverage that can be sold.

The limit for residential properties is currently $250,000 for structural damage and up to $100,000 for contents and possessions. It is possible to purchase additional coverage in the private market, but this can be a very expensive option.

What’s Covered?

Having a clear understanding of what is covered by flood insurance is key to making sure your home and contents are fully protected.

Flood insurance protects the structure of your home including the foundation as well as plumbing and electrical systems. A garage is insured for up to 10% of the property coverage limit. Other systems that are also protected by flood insurance include:

  • Water heaters
  • Refrigerators
  • Furnaces and air conditioning systems
  • Carpeting
  • Built in structures such as bookcases and cabinets
  • Window coverings

On the flipside of that coin, here are a few items that are not covered by a flood insurance policy:

  • Mold damage
  • Damages caused by sewer backup
  • Damages caused by drain back up
  • Swimming pools
  • Trees
  • Decks and patios
  • Swimming Pools

While storms like Katrina don’t come along often, even a small storm can lead to flash flooding and extensive (and expensive damage to your home) making flood insurance policy a lifesaver if the worst happens.

We can help, use our quick and easy form to get flood insurance quotes from our top rated carriers to find the best policy for your needs.

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