Live Along the Coast? You Might Need Flood Insurance
Tens of millions of homeowners living along the coast nationwide are putting their financial well-being in jeopardy by not carrying flood insurance. This is partially due to their reliance on flood maps from the federal government. As a result of their misplaced reliance, homeowners underestimate the likelihood of flooding on their property, setting themselves up for a potentially enormous financial hit.
Federal Flood Maps
The federal flooding maps in question come from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. According to the federal government, only properties where there is a 1 in 4 chance of flooding, based on data from a 30-year period, appear on the map as being at risk for flooding.
Most coastal areas do not appear on the map, as flooding does not happen as often there as it does on a flood plain – which can lull the homeowner into a false sense of security.
The absence of coastal areas from the maps is misleading because the maps fail to take into account the possibility of hurricanes striking the property. When hurricanes strike, they often cause severe flooding in coastal and inland areas. When Hurricane Ike reached the coast of Texas in 2008, it left a clear path of destruction, caused by flooding and surging seawater.
Many homeowners’ policies exclude flood damage from coverage – similar to windstorm damage – it is necessary to purchase additional insurance separately to be covered. Those who live or own property along the coast should purchase flood insurance coverage, due to the measurable property damage that may occur. According to federal figures, an inch of water in a 2,000-square-foot home causes $21,000 in damages.
Flood maps may be used by insurers to dispute or deny claims. An experienced attorney can help you navigate complex insurance policies and make the insurers live up to their promises.