Rain and snow are a part of life in Wisconsin. Year-round precipitation means wet conditions are frequent. Normally, this causes no issue. Sometimes, however, water accumulation can build rapidly, presenting flood conditions that damage homes and personal property. At Long & Company, we understand the threat potential of floods in the Badger State. We also know that traditional homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damages caused by floods. That is why we offer flood insurance solutions through the National Flood Insurance Program, with policies designed to protect the property of renters, homeowners, and condo owners in the greater Oconomowoc area.
Why Isn’t Flooding Covered by Home Insurance?
Floods have a history of causing catastrophic, widespread damages capable of putting insurance companies out of business. In fact, not only are floods the most destructive natural disaster in terms of cost, but they are also the most common in terms of frequency. Furthermore, they occur in all 50 states – not just select, high-risk regions. If private insurance companies had to cover flooding to the same extent it covers other disasters, the cost of premiums could soar to more than many homeowners, and renters could ever afford.
What is the National Flood Insurance Program?
The NFIP was created in response to the need for accessible flood insurance in all areas – including regions with elevated flood risk. It is managed by FEMA, a federal program that helps manage disaster aid. To purchase insurance from the NFIP, you must live in a community that participates in the program. These are communities that have taken steps to prevent flooding according to the terms and requirements of the NFIP.
Flood insurance, on the other hand, covers a homeowner’s or renter’s losses after a covered flood event, from the clean-up process to rebuilding and refurnishing. It typically comes with a maximum coverage availability of up to $100,000 in personal belongings damages and loss, as well as up to $250,000 for damage to a home’s structure, fixtures, and finishes. If you are renting your home, you may only need flood insurance for personal belongings, like furniture, electronics, clothing, and other things you own that go with you when you move. If you own the home you live in, you may need both types of coverage to ensure not only your personal belongings are covered, but also your home’s walls, flooring, cabinets, trim, and more.
Who Needs Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is mandatory in certain high-risk areas. In most regions, however, homeowners can purchase NFIP coverage at their discretion. Those who live in areas with a moderate or high risk of flooding may be more inclined to purchase coverage, as well as those who are notified that their area’s flood risk designation has changed. However, low-risk residents should also consider flood insurance –particularly considering more than one-third of federal disaster aid for floods goes to people outside of designated high-risk flood zones. Not to mention, 20 percent of NFIP claims are made by policy-holders in low and moderate-risk areas.
If you are not required to carry flood insurance, ask yourself this question, “Can I afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars to clean up my property, remove mold, rebuild the damaged structure, and replace all of my damaged belongings after a flood?” According to Floodsmart.org, it only takes 1 inch of floodwater to incur $25,000 in damages to a typical home. As the waters rise higher, the costs have nowhere to go but up, as well.
If you are unaware of the flood zone designations in your area, you can find out more about your local risk by utilizing FEMA’s flood map search tool.
Federal Disaster Aid/Loans vs. Flood Insurance
FEMA’s disaster relief programs are not the same as the National Flood Insurance Program. Disaster aid grants and loans are only available in areas that have been declared a federal disaster area, and the aid is generally designed to provide emergency compensation for displacement and living expenses. It does not cover the cost of remediating and restoring a flood-damaged home and its belongings.
Federal disaster loans may also be available in some circumstances to help repair and restore a property affected by floods. Although they may come with low-interest rates, they are still loans, meaning they must be repaid over time. With flood insurance, compensation is paid for covered claims with little out-of-pocket cost for the policy-holder.
Get a Flood Insurance Quote from an Independent Wisconsin Insurance Agent
If you own or rent a home or apartment in Wisconsin, Long & Company can help you find coverage solutions that protect your property against flood-related loss. National Flood Insurance Program policies can only be purchased through a licensed insurance agent, and working with us means you get local support and guidance so that you can feel confident making decisions about your coverage.
Most NFIP flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before they become active, so do not wait to apply for coverage. (There are exceptions for certain homeowners, such as those who are purchasing a new house or who have recently been informed of a flood risk zone designation change.) Be sure to ask your agent for help determining how much coverage you may need and whether you should explore supplemental coverage options if NFIP coverage limits are too low to meet your coverage needs adequately.
For more information about flood insurance in Wisconsin or to request your free NFIP quotes, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.