Flood Insurance Myths

Myth Number 1

"You can’t buy flood insurance right before or during a flood."

The reality is that a flood insurance policy may be purchased at any time, since our community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The fact that flooding is taking place or is imminent does not change that. It is true, however, that the coverage usually does not become effective until after a 30-day waiting period after the policy is issued.

Any residents who are told that they cannot purchase flood insurance - or that they do not need it should contact the NFIP call center at 800-427-4661 or visit the Flood Smart website to be referred to a knowledgeable agent. Flood insurance is sold as a separate policy, so even if a person’s regular agent doesn’t handle flood insurance, it can be obtained from another agent who serves the area.

Myth Number 2

"Flood insurance is only available for homeowners."

Renters of apartments, houses, and condominiums can get flood insurance. Owners of condominiums, houses, duplexes, and second homes can get flood insurance. Business owners can get flood insurance. Flood insurance is available to virtually anyone in an NFIP-participating community to protect the structure and/or the contents, and the two coverages are purchased separately.

Renters and owners can get up to $100,000 coverage for the contents of their home. Businesses can get up to $500,000 coverage for the contents of their commercial structure. Up to $250,000 of coverage for the building structure can be obtained, whether it’s an individual house or a condominium. A commercial structure can be insured up to a limit of $500,000.

Myth Number 3

"Flood insurance is too expensive."

Like all insurance, the premium rate depends on the risk factors, including location in terms of the chances, depth, and velocity of flooding; the design of the building’s structure, especially the foundation; and how high above the expected flood level the building is sited. The rates also depend on the size and value of the building itself and the amount of coverage selected.

For people in a low-risk zone, the base flood insurance premium can be as low as $127 a year for $20,000 in building coverage and $8,000 worth of contents coverage (fees are additional).

Determine Needed Coverage

The NFIP offers a maximum of $250,000 in building coverage and up to $100,000 for contents. To help determine how much coverage is right for a property owner, Flood Smart offers the Cost of Flooding Tool, which can help people in understand how expensive the damage can be, even from shallow flooding. For the maximum ($250,000) building coverage and the maximum ($100,000) contents coverage, annual premiums would run about:

  • $1,800 in a low-to-moderate flood risk area
  • $3,300 in a high-risk flood zone (within the Special Flood Hazard Area)
  • $7,000 in a high-risk coastal area

An overview of the coverages, and costs of flood insurance in clear language and with sources of more information can be found at the Flood Smart website.