When the rain keeps coming or the snow starts rapidly melting, flooding can quickly get out of hand here in Wisconsin. If you find your home drenched in standing water, it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to remediate and repair the damages – even if it’s just an inch. Throughout the U.S., flooding continues to cause the most expensive damages year after year, and many homeowners and renters are unprepared for potential damages. If your home is the next to go under water, how will you keep your finances afloat?
At Mark Leonard Insurance, we know how devastating a flood can be. No property owner is completely risk-free – not even people who live in ‘low-risk’ areas. In fact, approximately one out of every four homes damaged by flood waters is located in an area that is deemed ‘low-risk’. That is why we offer coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program to help mitigate financial risks and give you the funds you need to restore your home to its pre-flood condition.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Since flooding is not covered by homeowners insurance or renters insurance, coverage must instead be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. The National Flood Insurance Program exists for the sole purpose of reducing the cost burden of flooding and making flood insurance more affordable for people in high-risk areas who might not otherwise qualify for coverage.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) currently oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, but it does not sell coverage directly to the public. Instead, you must purchase coverage through an insurance agent who is authorized to sell NFIP insurance.
Types of Flood Coverage
Flood insurance through the NFIP offers two primary types of coverage. First, it can offer up to $100,000 of actual cash value coverage for damaged personal property items, such as your furniture and appliances. Renters, home owners, and other property owners can all benefit from personal property flood insurance.
Next, NFIP can provide property owners and home owners coverage for the structure of a property for up to $250,000 in damages. Unlike personal property protection, however, structural flood insurance covers the full replacement cost value of the home or property you insure. If your home or property value is greater than $250,000, talk to your agent about adding to your coverage with supplemental private flood insurance protection.
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
There are several variables that affect your flood insurance coverage needs. Do you live in a high-risk flood zone? Does the federal government require you to purchase coverage? Does your mortgage lender require flood insurance protection for your property until you pay off the balance of your loan? Even if the answer to these questions is ‘no’, flood insurance may still be a good investment for your property or personal belongings. Floods happen in low-risk areas more often than you might think. The good news is the cost of coverage is directly associated with your risks, meaning low-risk coverage is likely to cost less than flood insurance in a high-risk area.
FEMA publishes maps of local flood hazard areas on its website. Simply type your address or coordinates into the flood map search tool to find out your estimated risks.
Disaster Assistance vs. Flood Insurance
It’s sometimes easy to confuse flood insurance with federal disaster aid, but the two are very different. Flood insurance does not require any disaster declarations to provide benefits. It is also designed to pay for the full restoration of your home. FEMA grants, on the other hand, are allocated for emergency purposes following government-declared disasters. The grants do not have to be repaid, but they are only designed to cover emergency living expenses and other disaster-related costs, such as medical bills. You can have flood insurance and still qualify for FEMA aid if needed.
If you fail to purchase NFIP insurance prior to a flood, your options for rebuilding or repairing your home are much more limited. You can start by withdrawing funds from your personal financial accounts, or you can apply for an SBA loan to cover the costs instead. SBA disaster loans have low interest rates, but they still need to be repaid. In other words, you will be paying for your own home repairs after a flood if you do not have insurance.
Applying for Coverage
The sooner you apply for flood insurance, the better. Many of the most devastating floods in recent history had very little warning. Considering there is a 30-day waiting period before most new policies go into effect, there is no time to delay. We can help you begin the application process and start the path toward better flood protection.
Note that the 30-day waiting period may be waived for certain applicants, some of which may include property owners taking out a new mortgage or people who have recently been notified of a change in their flood zone hazard designation.
Mequon Flood Insurance Quotes
If you are ready to move forward with your flood insurance protection, contact our office to request your free quote. All NFIP agents offer the same low rates, but an independent agent like Mark Leonard can also provide you with personalized support, claims assistance, and whole-risk evaluation across all of your lines of coverage – not just one. That means identifying potential gaps in your protection, such as sewer backup and sump pump overflows, which may not be covered by standard homeowners insurance or flood insurance. In that case, we can add this important protection to your existing coverage with a simple and affordable endorsement.
To find out more about how an independent agent can help you minimize your risks and protect your property against flood damage, contact our office today.