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Here is a link to Floodsmart.gov if you think you would like to investigate the National Flood Insurance program.

You can plug in your address in and find out your potential risk level and estimated costs.

You can get it as a homeowner, a renter or as a business owner.

There is a 30 day waiting period.

Only certain agents sell the insurance which you can locate at the site.

(I have nothing to do with the insurance industry, in case you are wondering)

I am always amazed at the number of people who don't have flood insurance or who have a lot of misconceptions about the program like:

You have to be in a flood plain in order to get it - no, you don't.

The only reason you wouldn't be able to get it if you wanted it, is if your city or town opted out of participating, and I'm not sure why a town would do that, but some have.

Flooding is not always about the ocean, or streams or rivers - sometimes it is about rainfall and runoff and flash flooding - standing water that has no place to go but inside your house.

There are great videos and good explanations on this site.

Flood insurance helps me sleep a little better at night, knowing that of the worst happened and I lost my house in a hurricane or flood, at least I would have a prayer of rebuilding.

If you don't have flood insurance, what happens is that FEMA offers low interest loans to homeowners.  Business owners have to go through a loan program administered by the Small Business Administration in a partnership with FEMA - it's a lot more red tape than simple insurance; I know, I have a friend going through the process right now.

I have only ever been a policy owner and not (knock wood) a policy user. If anyone has actually used the program, I would be interested in knowing how well it worked.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Flood insurance saved us (8+ / 0-)

    Formerly we were required to carry flood insurance by our mortgage holder, and it was a hefty $600/year.  Then our area was dropped from flood-plain designation after the levees were upgraded, and they let us know we could drop the coverage if desired.  We were mulling it over and truth to tell had kind of forgotten that there was only a week left to manually renew.  

    Then we flooded.  

    It was irrigation water, released by vandals in the dead of night from our acequia system on the last day of the irrigation season.    Fortunately it inundated our neighbors pastures as well and exceed the 10-acre minimum needed to qualify as a real, not-just-for-us flood.   Came up shin deep all around our adobe house and under our old wooden subfloors and into our floor furnaces.  Adobe houses don't LIKE to get wet.   We had $50,000 in structural repairs and all new subfloors.  And it was covered.   Saved that beloved old house, no question.  

    Here's the deal:  home-owner's insurance typically covers only water that comes down from the sky.  If the water comes UP from the ground, your regular insurance probably does NOT cover it.  

    Now we'ver renewed with a different company.  Thanks to the levees, at a much lower rate of $300/year for better replacement coverage.   We're believers, now.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:01:04 AM PDT

    •  See, I've already learned something (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, lgmcp

      I knew nothing about this 10 acre minimum of which you speak.

      10 acres is not really all that much space, really, but still interesting. This is the kind of stuff you only  find out about by actually going through the process.

      I am so happy for you that your policy did not lapse before the flood.

      •  Thanks, it was a close call, for sure. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina, Bluefin

        Turns out the minimum acreage is in there basically to rule out local plumbing disasters which are probably the most common reason that water comes up from the ground.  They want to confine it to dams, rivers, storm flow.  Not sure how one can adequately insure for the sewage aspect.  

        Interestingly, all of the flood insurance adjusters were hard at work in Florida that season, and they asked me to document and assess the damage MYSELF!  I guess NM is a bit off the beaten track, for flooding.  

        I submitted a binder full of annotated photos, showing where the watermarks came up to and how long the foundation cracks were.  Crawled around in the mud under the house with a tape measure, taking flash photos.  They paid my contractor's bill in full and even rounded it up about 10%, unable to believe his excellent pricing.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:12:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Get it! (3+ / 0-)
      Here's the deal:  home-owner's insurance typically covers only water that comes down from the sky.  If the water comes UP from the ground, your regular insurance probably does NOT cover it.
      Yes, and...

      And if there is both flooding and rain, even if YOUR damage is only from rain or wind-driven rain or first from the rain then from the flood, the homeowner's insurance company will probably claim that your damage was FIRST from the flood and you don't get paid by their company.  If you don't have federal flood insurance you get nothing.

      I live near the coast.  My concern is that a very high tide plus very high waves could erode the soil out from under the house foundation, or maybe a wind-driven wave could punch out a door or window and do damage.  I buy flood insurance.

    •  The rate drop is due to your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      reclassification, not the change in company. It turns out all companies charge the same rate for the same property, because it's federally determined.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 05:51:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, BUT (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling

        the reclassification did not take effect until we took out a new policy with a new company.  Our old company just kept renewing us at the old rate, and we never knew to agitate about it, for three or four years.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 08:05:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent points, phoebe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, bear83, Bluefin

    Many people only get flood insurance if required under the terms of their mortgage. Flooding can occur virtually anywhere. A broken water main or back-ed up sewer, a rapid snowmelt, a heavy rainfall on frozen ground, a failed levee or a breached dam. A stormwater detention basin that doesn't function as designed. As you correctly note, it's not just for people in a flood plain.

    Even if you live somewhere that's never experienced any form of flooding, you have only to watch the news to see that lots of unusual weather events are striking, many of them unprecedented in the record books. Traditional homeowner's insurance is not sufficient. Depending on where you live, you may also need to carry wind insurance, slab insurance, or other regional insurance products to ensure that you can rebuild or get compensation for your residential or business losses.  

    Like you, I've only paid premiums for flood insurance, never collected despite hurricanes and massive rain events, so I can't comment on the collection process, but flood insurance helps me sleep at night, and at my age, that in itself is terrific.

    You cannot enlighten the unconscious.

    by cassandracarolina on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:01:46 AM PDT

  •  Waste of over $1000.00 per year if you don't (0+ / 0-)

    live in a flood plain or on the coast.

    You are betting something WILL happen to the property, I am betting NOTHING will happen to the property, regarding flooding.

    Buy more life insurance, IF you feel the need to buy ANY insurance. Cause for a fact, you WILL one day die.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

    by Mr SeeMore on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:08:45 AM PDT

    •  Even in a flood zone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Phoebe Loosinhouse

      my policy is $525, so $1000 for somewhere not in a flood zone sounds extreme.  If your home is in an area where additional construction is going on, more and more land is being converted to impervious surface, increasing the chance of flooding events caused or exacerbated by human activities.

      You cannot enlighten the unconscious.

      by cassandracarolina on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:13:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The policy size is sometimes wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluefin

        because they charge you based on the value of your whole property, not based on the actual coverage, which is to the principal dwelling only with a value cap. So for a property on a large acreage with a tiny ugly house, you could be seeing a premium that high but with a painfully small benefit.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 05:53:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mine's only $300/year (2+ / 0-)

      for replacement cost on a 4-bedroom home.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:14:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Though you're right that insurance is always poker (2+ / 0-)

        wherein  you're betting that unlikely bad things will occur, and the house is betting they won't.  

        Insurance is for pessimists.  Count me in!

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:16:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Katia is taking the same path as Irene (3+ / 0-)

    Your policy will not be enforce until 30 days after purchase

  •  All it took for me to get flood insurance (4+ / 0-)

    was the epic floods that seem to keep happening - with more frequency - around the country.

    How many 100-year floods - in far less than 100 years - does it take to convince you - especially if you live anywhere near any body of water.

    The climate is warming, and warm air holds more moisture than cool air. More moisture = more precipitation.

    "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by bear83 on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 11:14:57 AM PDT

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