Over the course of several days, slow moving Tropical Storm ETA was responsible for soaking South Florida with nearly 25 inches of rain earlier this month. The extraordinary amount of rain caused severe flooding in several cities with some of the worst hit areas being in Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Southwest Ranches, and Plantation. Unfortunately, many homes and vehicles suffered damage from the rising water.
While damage caused by flood is typically covered by a standard Auto insurance policy when Comprehensive coverage has been selected, the same cannot be said for Homeowners Insurance. Most Homeowners policies do not include coverage for a loss caused by flood and often times it is not an option available that you can add to your policy.
Many homeowners assume government aid will cover damage costs from a flood event, however, this is a mistake. Government aid is contingent on a presidential declaration of emergency.
So how is a loss caused by flood covered?
The answer is Flood Insurance. Flood insurance separately covers specific flood-related damage not normally covered by a Homeowner’s insurance policy. Regardless of Presidential declaration, a flood insurance policy will provide coverage for damage to both the interior of your home and your contents.
In Florida, there are two ways to obtain Flood Insurance.
- A Flood Policy: Your agent can assist with helping you obtain a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or with a private market flood insurance carrier.
- A Flood Endorsement added to your Homeowners Policy: In Florida, this option is not always available and is contingent on whether or not your homeowners insurance company offers the option of a Flood endorsement. Contact your agent to find out if your Homeowners insurance carrier offers a Flood endorsement.
Why should I buy Flood Insurance?
According to the NFIP, floods are the most frequent natural disaster. Florida homeowners are no stranger to natural disasters and are often at high risk for flood damage. This risk for flooding is heightened during Hurricane Season (June 1 – November 30th) when Tropical Storms and Hurricanes bring overwhelming rain, rising ground water, and powerful winds that can cause a storm surge.
Even with Hurricane season coming to an end, it’s still beneficial to invest in a Flood Insurance Policy. Here’s why:
Earlier this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposed changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) in South Florida. If approved, this change is projected to impact between 60,000 to 70,000 homeowners that will have their flood zones changed from Flood Zone X (low risk of flooding) to a special flood hazard area (Zones A or V, high risk of flooding).
With this change, lenders will require flood insurance for homes going from Zone X to Zones A or V. This means homeowners in these zones will now have to purchase flood insurance or their lender may force place coverage. For those already carrying flood insurance, this means the cost of their policy will likely increase once their zone changes into a higher risk area. Click on the following link and enter your address to check if your zone may be changing: Broward FEMA Flood Map Preliminary
The good news is that there is a way to limit this increase of premium through “Grandfathering.” According to FEMA, one method for homeowners to grandfather is to purchase a NFIP low-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) before the new FIRM becomes effective. At renewal, the policy could be rewritten using standard rates, but will still be based on the grandfathered lower-risk zone. The resulting premium will typically be lower than if the homeowner waited to purchase after the map change is officially in the higher-risk zone.
There are several rules to grandfathering so we recommend working with an agent to help you navigate this process. To contact an agent to discuss protecting your home from with flood insurance, call (954) 389-6930 or send your inquiry using the following link: Quote My Flood Insurance