Protecting your property with flood insurance
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Oklahomans have health insurance, dental insurance and car insurance. But, what about flood insurance?
Floods are the most common and costly natural disasters in the nation. They can occur anywhere and affect every region and state across the country, including Oklahoma, said Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension assistant state specialist, family resource management.
“Flood waters can cause thousands of dollars in damage and completely wipe out your home’s value along with all your belongings,” Clampet said.
One way homeowners can protect their property and belongings is through flood insurance.
“Properties located in areas at high risk for flooding that also carry mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders may be required to carry flood insurance,” Clampet said. “In some cases, even when a property is located in moderate- or low-risk flood area, lenders may still require flood coverage.”
Flood insurance is not covered by the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. It must be purchased separately from the homeowner’s policy.
These policies can cover a range of damage such as building property, the insured building and its foundation, contents of the building and even freezers and the food inside.
However, certain valuables such as original artwork, antiques, guns, jewelry and electronics may be excluded or have specific dollar limits on coverage. Those coverages could vary by insurance company.
Of course, the cost of the policy may differ based on several factors such as the year of building construction, building occupancy, number of floors, the deductible and the amount of building and contents coverage.
There are separate deductibles for building and contents, with varying amounts of coverage available.
Most premiums also will include a Federal Policy Fee, which is designed to help blunt any increase in the cost of compliance with higher standards following a flood. Additionally, premiums will include a Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 surcharge.
Flood insurance must be purchased through an insurance agent and cannot be purchased directly from the National Flood Insurance Program.
“You can start by contacting the same agent who handles your other insurance needs such as for your car, home or business,” Clampet said.
For a list of key questions to ask an agent before purchasing a flood insurance policy, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.
To request an agent referral, contact the National Flood Insurance Program Referral Call Center at 888-379-9531.
With a few exceptions, new policies carry a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase to the effective date.
For more information about flood insurance, go to www.FloodSmart.gov and contact the nearest county Extension office.