Why does flood insurance matter? Because anywhere it rains, it can flood.

A flood is a “general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow”. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past doesn’t mean you won’t at some point in the future. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), in the past five years all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. In high-risk areas, homes are more likely to be damaged by flood than fire. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the average flood claim in 2013 was $26,165.

It is not uncommon for people to find out – too late – their homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding– which is different than damage caused by water back-up from a sewer line or faulty sump pump, for example. Flood insurance covers direct physical losses by flood and losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by heavy or prolonged rain, coastal storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, levee dam failure or other similar causes.

Causes of floods

Heavy rains and melting snow, along with changing landscapes, are giving rise to more frequent flooding. Paved ground prevents the land from absorbing excess precipitation, and forest fires have destroyed barriers that would normally have prevented mud flows due to heavy rains. You are susceptible to flooding no matter what area of the country you live in. According to the NFIP, low-to-moderate risk areas account for over 20% of flood claims.

Where to get flood insurance

Most flood insurance in the United States is provided through the federally-backed NFIP, and many insurance companies act as agents for NFIP-provided insurance. The benefit of this program is the fact that the price is the same for similar areas across the country so there is no need to rate shop, and the lower the risk of the area you live in, the lower your rate can be.

If, at this point, you are still pondering the need for flood insurance, consider this:

  • Just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the structure of your home and personal possessions
  • Most flood insurance policies have a 30-day activation window, so calling your agent when the water starts coming in will leave you unprotected
  • Separate property and contents flood insurance may be required; excess flood insurance may also be available to provide coverage beyond NFIP program limits
  • Renters are also eligible to purchase flood insurance

What you can do

Flood insurance typically requires an insurance agent to either add coverage to your existing policy or add a separate flood policy through the NFIP. To learn more, schedule a conversation with Wells Fargo Insurance at 1-877-393-5663.
Another step is to use a home inventory tool to ensure you have an accurate accounting of all your possessions including furniture, electronics, clothing, and even flooring (carpet, tile, laminates, etc.). Taking pictures or video of these items can also help in the event you need to make any type of homeowners insurance or flood insurance claim.

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