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Should I Purchase Flood Insurance If I’m Not in a Flood Zone?

water flooding a home inside

Flood insurance covers direct physical loss to your home structure and belongings caused by flooding. If the area where you live is not in a flood zone, you may think you are safe from flooding. The fact is that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the country. Many flood-related insurance claims come from areas with a low to moderate flood risk.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Two types of flood insurance are available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):

  • Building coverage: This protects you against damage from flooding to your foundation walls, staircases, anchorage systems, furnaces, water heaters, electrical systems, plumbing systems, refrigerators, stoves, built-in appliances such as dishwashers, permanently installed carpeting, cabinets, paneling, permanently installed bookcases, window blinds, solar energy equipment, well water tanks and pumps, fuel tanks, and detached garages.
  • Contents coverage: This insurance covers personal belongings, such as furniture, clothing, electronic equipment, washers and dryers, curtains, microwave ovens, portable and window air conditioners, carpets not included in the building coverage, and valuable items, such as furs or artwork.

Flood insurance will not cover damage that is not the direct result of flooding. For example, damage from sewage backup is not covered unless flooding directly causes the backup.

When Can You Buy Flood Insurance?

You can purchase federal flood insurance if your community participates in the NFIP. For properties located within the areas with the most significant risk of flooding, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), under the National Flood Insurance Act, lenders must require borrowers to buy flood insurance to receive federally-backed loans. You can purchase flood insurance at any time. After you have paid the premium, there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy goes into effect, except when:

  • The initial purchase of flood insurance is in connection with making, extending, increasing, or renewing a loan; or
  • The initial purchase of flood insurance is made during one year following adoption of a revised Flood Insurance Rate Map for a community, in which case the waiting period is one day.

If you purchase flood insurance when you buy your home, there is no waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

What Type of Flooding Does NFIP Cover?

When the surface of normally dry land is partially inundated, and two or more adjacent properties or two or more acres are affected, it is considered flooding covered by NFIP. This can be caused by:

  • Unusual, rapid accumulation of runoff of surface water from any source, such as heavy rainfall
  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Collapse or destabilization of land along a lakeshore or other body of water caused by erosion or the effects of waves
  • Mudslides or mudflows comparable to rivers of liquid, flowing mud caused by flooding
  • Water currents exceeding normal cyclic levels

Flood insurance is not only for people who live in flood zones. Our friendly agent can help you obtain a policy to protect your home from flooding.