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By now, you probably know that only flood insurance covers flood damage. But you likely don't know all of the details. Here are some to consider.
You can only purchase flood insurance through an insurance agent; you cannot buy it directly from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, you can:
As with any other type of insurance, it's important to know what your policy does and does not cover. For example, damage caused by a sewer backup is only covered by flood insurance if it's a direct result of flooding; the damage is not covered if the backup is caused by some other problem. For a complete summary of coverage, go to What's Covered.
Deductibles apply separately to building and contents with different amounts to choose. As with other insurance plans, a higher deductible will lower the premium you pay but will also reduce your claim payment, meaning you will need to cover the difference out of your own pocket. Sometimes a mortgage lender will set a maximum amount for your deductible.
Homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance. While flood insurance is not federally required if you live in a moderate- to low-risk flood area, your lender may still require you to have insurance.
Rates do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. The rates depend on several factors, including the date and type of construction of your home, along with your area's level of risk. Most premiums include a Federal Policy Fee, a fee to help defray any increased cost of compliance with higher standards after a flood, and a Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 Surcharge. If your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you may qualify for an insurance premium discount. The discount is calculated based on the community's efforts to reduce the risk of flooding.
Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase until your policy goes into effect. Here are the exceptions:
You must pay for the full year's premium. The NFIP accepts check and credit card payments (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa).
A lot of things determine which policy is best for you, so if you have questions, now's the time to ask.
If you're looking for an agent, here is a quick, handy tool to help you get started.
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