A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding. This has been the core issue in numerous lawsuits over hurricane-damage claims, some of which are still pending.
The bottom line for the future: If you have a claim due to flooding and don’t have a flood policy, you’re out of luck.
Your insurance agent can sell you a flood policy issued by the federal government’s Flood Insurance Program. It is reasonably priced. Mortgage lenders require such coverage if you are in a high-risk area.
Note that there is a 30-day waiting period. That means in order to have a policy in place by July 1, you must buy your flood policy by June 1. In Florida, just one-third of homes have flood insurance. Across the country, only about half of homes in areas designated as Special Flood Hazard Areas have flood insurance, according to a Rand Corp. study.
Even people outside of the flood zones should consider obtaining coverage, state insurance regulators say. They cite a study that showed one-third of all floods occurred outside standard flood-hazard areas; however, only 1 percent of people outside the flood plains buy insurance.
Florida consumers can purchase flood insurance for up to $250,000 in property damage, and $100,000 for personal contents. Most flood insurance policies cost less than $1,000 a year in the flood zone and less than $200 a year outside the flood zone, depending on the coverage selected.
Find Flood Insurance Program information at the FEMA website: www.fema.gov/business/nfip/
Relative flood risk information is available at www. floodsmart.gov by entering specific property information. The tool provides consumers with the relative flood risk of a property and links to flood insurance resources.