It’s August in Florida and a hurricane is approaching Florida’s Gulf Coast. You bought your home three years ago, and since it wasn’t in a flood hazard area that required you to carry flood insurance, you didn’t purchase a flood insurance policy. You’re living in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is a peninsula on a peninsula, so your city is surrounded by water. Before you know it, the water levels have risen, and water has creeped into your house. You think “No problem, I’ll file an insurance claim”, and that’s where the trouble starts. Your insurance agent says “Bob, I’m sorry this has happened to you, but your homeowner’s insurance does not cover the water damage.” You frustratingly hang up the phone and review your policy and realize that your insurance agent is correct, those rising waters were not covered!
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do NOT cover flood damage to homes. According to floordmart.gov, more than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones. According to State Farm Insurance Agent David Vargas “Many property owners who are not in a high-risk area qualify for Preferred Risk Policy rates, which can be as low as $400.00 per year.” These preferred areas include flood hazard zones B, C, X, AR, and A99 zones.
As a real estate company, Poth & Associates Real Estate always recommends that our clients carry flood insurance, even when it’s not required. “A homeowner can’t prevent a flood, but they can prevent a financial disaster by making sure they are insured”, says Poth & Associates Real Estate Agent Stephanie Pia, “houses off the water can flood just as easily as houses on the water, so I encourage everyone to protect their investment.”
According to Vargas, this is a smart idea. “When you look at the number of flood insurance claims filed by homeowners who are not in high flood risk areas, it just makes sense to protect yourself.” According to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, Federal disaster assistance is only made available when there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration, and most flood events do not result in a declaration. Federal disaster aid typically comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans that must be repaid. According to Vargas, this is where the importance of flood insurance comes in. “FEMA’s low-interest loans are often around $5,000, and one-inch of water damage can cause over $25,000 in damage to someone’s home” says Vargas, “Flood insurance would cover that damage, and the cost of those repairs does not have to be repaid.”
It’s not just homeowner’s that should be protected. Renters may also qualify for flood insurance policies. In addition to renter’s insurance, renters can also purchase an NFIP flood insurance policy to protect their belongings if a flood disaster occurs.
As we enter Florida’s Hurricane Season, many insurance and real estate agents are reminding their clients about the importance of Flood Insurance. “We are sending emails to clients to remind them to check their insurance policies to make sure they are protected”, said Pia.
Post written by Bobby Poth, Broker/Owner of Poth & Associates Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL. firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Vargas is a State Farm Insurance Agent and owner of David Vargas- State Farm Insurance in St. Petersburg, Fl and can be reached at email@example.com. Stephanie Pia is a licensed Sales Associate with Poth & Associates Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.