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How to Purchase Flood Insurance

Flood Insurance

The worst time to find out a property is not covered for flood insurance is after a flood occurs and the property is damaged.

Most homeowner insurance policies do not offer coverage for the peril of flood, especially, if the property is located in a flood zone.

Who Needs Flood Insurance

Homeowners, landlords and tenants with properties located in a flood zone need to purchase the insurance to cover their interests. To find out if a property is located in a flood zone, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website and access the flood zone map service. The maps, which are available for free if viewed online or for a fee if printed, display zoning information for each property area. The maps outline whether or not the property is located in a 100-year flood zone, 500-year flood zone or not in a flood zone at all.

Preliminary Flood Insurance Risk Analysis

To get an idea of how much it cost to insure a location for flood insurance, visit the SmartFlood.gov website and insert the address of the location to be insured. SmartFlood.gov performs a preliminary flood risk analysis. Keep in mind, however, that the risk analysis is an estimate only. The only way to tell if the location is truly in a flood zone is to look at the flood map.

Obtain Preliminary Flood Insurance Quote

In addition to the risk analysis, the FloodSmart website offers an estimate of what it will cost to insure the location. Renters can get a contents only estimate, landlords can receive a building only cost estimate and homeowners can obtain an estimate for building and contents combined.

Contact a Licensed Flood Insurance Agent

In addition to providing the basic risk analysis and premium estimate, Flood Smart provides a contact list of qualified insurance agents in the area who have the authority to bind coverage. All one has to do is go through the list and select a conveniently located agent.

Since primary flood coverage for locations situated in a flood zone is available only through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, shopping around for a better quote isn’t necessary. All agents use the same underwriting basis.

Flood Coverage Basics

There is a 30-day waiting period between the time of purchase and the date the policy goes into affect. This prevents individuals from purchasing insurance a result of an impending storm.

The maximum limit purchasable through the National Flood Insurance Program is $250,000 on buildings and $100,000 on contents. For more information on property valuation, limits, coverages and deductibles review the National Flood Insurance Policy Summary of Coverage.

About the author: Felicia A. Williams is a former insurance broker who is now a freelance writer.

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