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Flood Insurance Policies

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What is Flood Insurance?

Imagine the storm of the century strikes your area and the river overflows its banks. It is very possible that the sewer system will be inadequate to handle several feet of a rising tide of water. Flood insurance will cover some of the damage to your home that is caused by rising waters that originate from outside your house.

If you are not already aware, your homeowner's insurance policy does not cover damage due to floods. It only covers water damage due to internal flooding such as that from a broken pipe or overflowing bathtub. It is important to buy a policy for flood protection because water can cause a serious amount of damage that is very expensive to repair. It can ruin your walls, destroy your carpet, and render your appliances inoperable.

If you want or need to buy a flood policy, you have to purchase it through FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you have a mortgage and live in a flood zone, you will most likely be required to have a policy as a condition of the mortgage. Even if you own your home free-and-clear, it is probably wise to have a flood policy to protect your investment. Remember, there is a 30 day waiting period before a flood policy goes into effect. It won't do you any good to buy a policy two days before a major hurricane is expected to cause severe storm surge at your beachfront home.

The amount of your premium for a flood policy will vary depending upon the risk of flooding in your year. FEMA uses 100 year maps to calculate the likelihood of flooding in your immediate area and places you in a specific flood zone. If you are in a high-risk zone, you will pay considerably more than if your home is in a low-risk flood zone. You may be able to lower your premium by selecting a higher deductible.

While it may be impossible to stop flood waters from infiltrating your home, you should try to do what you can to mitigate the damages. Consider sand bags, pumps, and moving your personal belongings to higher ground.

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