If you live in Minnesota, spring might just be your favorite time of year. After a long, dark, and cold winter, we’re finally experiencing longer days, sunshine, and warmer weather. Another sign of spring is an occasional rainstorm or two, and in extreme cases, those rainstorms can be accompanied by the danger of flooding.
Many people mistakenly believe that spring flooding only occurs near lakes and rivers when their banks run over. In reality however, it can happen most anywhere it rains. For example, if heavy rains come before the ground is fully thawed out, the water has no place to go, so it all finds its way to lower ground, which might just be your yard, or worse yet, your basement. The threat of flood doesn’t go away once the frost is out either. Many floods occur in the middle of the summer, when after a dry spell, a downpour of rain finds itself in a similar situation, where it can’t be absorbed into the ground, and once again it finds its way into people’s homes.
To add insult to injury, in addition to having a basement full of mud and water, many people find themselves without proper insurance coverage as well. The reason for this is that because standard, or even premium homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. In order to have coverage for a flood loss, you must purchase a flood insurance policy.
What Flood Insurance Does & Doesn’t Cover
As you would expect, flood insurance covers losses due to a flood. A flood is defined as: “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: Overflow of inland or tidal waters; Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; Mudflow; or Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.”
As with other types of insurance policies, flood insurance has limitations as to what property is covered. The structure of your home or business, and the property inside those structures are generally covered, including damage to the foundation, and the loss of personal items. However, if the grass, trees, landscaping, and other parts of the yard or land are damaged or scarred by the flooding, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace or repair those items as they would not be covered by any flood insurance policy. In addition, flood insurance will not cover automobiles and boats, as these should be covered by their respective insurance policies.
Where to Buy Flood Insurance
Flood insurance can be purchased through most local insurance agencies. And while it is sold through private insurance agencies, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is actually administered through the federal government, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Because this is a public program, insurance rates are the same, regardless of which insurance agency you purchase the policy from. Flood insurance rates will only vary according to the structure’s construction date, type of property, and level of risk for flooding.
Important Flood Insurance Notes
There are a few things to know about flood insurance. As with some other types of insurance policies, there may be a choice of either Replacement Cost Value (RCV) or Actual Cash Value (ACV) reimbursements.
Another item to note is that payment for your policy must be made for the full year’s premium, and while there are some exceptions for certain types of situations, there’s usually a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy goes into effect.
Finally, while flood insurance is optional for many, but it is a requirement for homes located in a high-risk flood area and has a mortgage that originates through federally regulated or insured lenders.
You don’t necessarily have to live near the water for your home to be at risk for flooding. These disasters can occur unexpectedly, destroying some or all of your possessions and home. Take a moment to think about whether or not you could recover from a loss due to flood. If you’d like a quote, give us a call or stop in, we’d be glad to help.