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Legal Issues
Jun 20, 2018

Don't Run the Risk of Not Having Flood Insurance

Sponsored Content provided by Geoffrey Losee - Partner, Rountree Losee LLP

It seems like we break rainfall records more often these days… or maybe that’s just my imagination.

With the 2018 hurricane season having just kicked off, it’s a good time for homeowners to check on the availability of flood insurance to protect your home. Flood insurance for moderately-priced homes in moderate risk areas is a good buy.

For as little as $380 a year, you can purchase $200,000 in building coverage and $60,000 in contents coverage. The average premium is about $700 a year, even though the federal government is phasing out coverage subsidies. I recommend buying it! It paid for itself hundreds of times over when my house flooded during Hurricane Floyd.

Many folks don’t have flood insurance. In my experience, this is because they don’t feel the need if the coverage is not required by a bank, which is often the case if the area does not often flood.

A recent news report confirmed this – a local homeowner did not buy flood insurance because he thought it was available only for homes in a "flood zone."

That is not so.

And since then, I have heard some folks say the opposite – they thought you could get flood insurance only if you are not in a flood zone. That is not so, either.

In my opinion, you need flood insurance, even if you don’t live in a high-risk area.

While floods are the number-one cause of disaster in the U.S., many folks think they are not at risk if their homes were never flooded. Wrong. The risk can change for the worse over time.

For example, increased development can replace nearby natural areas with impervious surfaces. In that event, heavy rains are no longer quickly absorbed into the ground. Instead, they quickly run over the hardened surface… and in the direction of a formerly “dry” home.

Combine that with rapid rainfall accumulation, poor drainage systems, or backed-up water mains and you can have a real problem on your hands. Small wonder that more than 20 percent of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims are not from high-risk areas.

Here are a few things you need to you know about flood insurance:

  • You can get flood insurance for most places.
  • However, NFIP flood insurance is not available everywhere at the beach. If the beach property is in an unimproved “COBRA” zone, the NFIP insurance is not available.
  • You probably can afford flood insurance. True, it’s frightfully expensive for beach homes and it’s going to get worse. But most homes in our area are not on the beach. For those homeowners, the cost of coverage can be quite reasonable, especially when you consider the risk of not having it.
  • Your wind and rain homeowners’ policy is not the same as flood insurance. Wind and rain policies do not provide flood coverage. While the policy might cover rain damage after a storm damages a roof, it does not cover water damage from floods. Sometimes, it’s not clear if water damage was caused by the driving rain or by flooding.
Bottom line: I am a firm believer in obtaining flood insurance coverage. When you have it, as I do, you can sleep soundly knowing that even if there is some debate about which policy covers your home, you are covered.

Without a flood policy, in my opinion, you are facing a gaping coverage gap. Mind the gaps!

Rountree Losee LLP has provided well-respected, high-quality legal services in Southeastern North Carolina for generations. Grounded in this history and tradition, and guided by our firm values, Rountree Losee’s diverse and growing team of lawyer-leaders continues to provide exceptional legal services as well as exemplary service to the community in which we live and work. If you have any questions or comments about this article or other legal services, please contact us at (910) 763-3404 or www.rountreelosee.com/contact-us.

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