Flood Insurance FAQs Part One

Flood Insurance FAQs Part One

Record Rainfall in Texas

Over the past two years, Texas has seen some record rainfalls which resulted in widespread flooding...even in some areas where it has never flooded before. According to the Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center at the Overton Center, rainfall totals in the great state of Texas for the year 2015 were at 77.37. That's more than twice the amount received in 2014 (35.90 inches) and 2013 didn't even come close with 44.75 inches. Today is Aug 1, 2016 and thus far, Texans have already been soaked by more rain than in the year 2014, with 36.18 inches being recorded. 

As stated before, this record rainfall brought widespread flooding across the state, with areas that were not in flood plains seeing several feet of water, areas that had never before flooded were under water several times.  Many homeowners found themselves devastated once they realized their homeowner's insurance policies didn't cover the damages brought upon by flood. Sure, there were FEMA funds to be had, but not every area qualified as a disaster area, so federal relief was either little or completely nonexistent.  

As a victim of flooding from Hurricane Ike in 2008, I can relate. I know firsthand how devastating it can be, even when there is some kind of homeowner's insurance.  A tornado ripped the roof off of my home in Montgomery County; I was not on the coast where Ike caused the most destruction, but our area was not left untouched. To make a long story short, my 2 story home ended up filled with water, and within 2 days the mold had taken over, the walls, floors, and ceilings were completely destroyed, along with other items I had been unable to move out.  Yes, I had homeowner's insurance, and much of it was taken care of by this, but I had no flood insurance.  The insurance adjuster that was sent to my home told me that other than fire, water caused the most irreversible damage known to homes and property. He recommended that I take out flood insurance on my next home, regardless of its location.  So, after doing much research and conversation about my own predicament, I have come up with a list of frequently asked questions about flood insurance, and I am going to provide you with some answers that I found to be true, at least in my situation.  DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not an insurance agent, and the best person you can speak to about the matter IS an insurance agent.

  1. DOESN'T HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY COVER FLOODING?
    No. Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy--Many people are not aware of this.  If you have homeowner's insurance and don't know if it is covered or not, call your agent and make sure you have it in writing from the company if your agent says you are covered.

  2. IF MY HOME IS FLOODED, WON'T FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE PAY FOR ANY DAMAGES?
    That is not always the case. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low interest loan to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the president formally declares a disaster and must be repaid along with any existing mortgage.

  3. ARE ALL AREAS ELIGIBLE FOR FLOOD INSURANCE?
    You must live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to qualify for National Flood Insurance. Find out if your community participates in the NFIP and the kinds of NFIP resources available in your community.

  4. I LIVE IN A LOW-RISK FLOOD ZONE. DO I REALLY NEED FLOOD INSURANCE IF MY COMMUNITY HAS NEVER EXPERIENCED FLOODING?
    Even though flood insurance isn't federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file over 20-percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest. A 
    Preferred Risk Policy provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate- to low-risk areas for one low-price. There are more things to consider than just the area or region in which your community is located. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snowmelt, and broken water mains can all result in flood. Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy.

  5. WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IF I WANT TO PURCHASE A FLOOD INSURANCE POLICY?
    The National Flood Insurance Program has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. Here is a  link to a list of private insurance companies that sell and service NFIP flood insurance policies is available to you.
    You should also contact your insurance agent or company to find out more about federal flood insurance or find an agent serving your area.                 
    For more information on flood insurance for your home, you can visit this website: https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/faqs.jsp                    **In Part Two, I'll cover some more information about flooding in Texas, such as what flood zones are, and how to find out if a particular property is at risk for flooding.



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Phone: 936-537-9103
Dated: August 1st 2016
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