If you are a homeowner and have homeowner's insurance, there is a very good chance you do not have flood insurance. Flood insurance is a separate insurance, and usually it needs to be requested. When applying for homeowner's insurance the question of whether or not a home is in a flood zone is always asked. Most people don't plan to have their homes flooded. Freak storms and other weather occurrences are out of our control and are never planned. Some lenders will require that you have flood insurance, so you may already have it and not know it.
- To purchase flood insurance, you can contact your current homeowner's insurance agent to see if it is available. If it isn't you will need to go through the National Flood Insurance Program. This program is backed by the U.S. government. You can go to FloodSmart.gov to locate an agent if you do not already have an insurance agent.
- Your insurance agent will be able to look at a map and determine if you are in an area at high risk for flooding. If you are you can expect to pay higher premiums. Premiums will also be based on past history for your home. If it has had a flood claim in the past, you can expect to pay a higher premium. Coastal areas will also have much higher premiums.
- Most flood insurance policies require a 30 day waiting period before they are active. If you are expecting a rough weather season, it is imperative you add flood insurance to your policy quickly.
- Flood insurance can be purchased at a fairly low cost. For a low risk area, with no previous claims you can expect to pay about $300 a year for $250,000 worth of coverage. There are also policies that cover contents only and may be a little cheaper.
- If you are renting an apartment or house, you can purchase flood insurance as well.
All flood insurance should be the same price regardless of what agent you use, because they are all the same program essentially. Flood insurance can be purchased for commercial or residential properties. If you live in a high risk area, your home should have been built to meet the government requirements. The FEMA Web site also provides maps that you can download. These maps give you an idea of what your flood risk is, these may not be 100% accurate.