Flood Insurance – Protecting Your Home From Flash Floods

7 quick facts about flood damage and how to better protect your home and business.

The massive flood damage around the Birmingham metro area on April 7, 2014 surprised many. More than 7 inches of rain was measured in Vestavia Hills, based on the National Weather Service, while other locations in the area reported 5-6 inches of rain.

The National Flood Insurance Plane (NFIP) was established by the US government to help with the high cost of flood-related losses of both buildings and property.

Seven important facts about flood insurance:

1. No one is safe. – People outside risk areas submit nearly 25% of National Flood Insurance claims. In risk areas, the chance of flooding is at least 1 in 4 with a 30-year mortgage. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rain and broken water pipes can all lead to flooding. Homes on a hill can be damaged by mudslide, a covered risk under standard flood insurance.

2. I have homeowner/tenant insurance. – Flood damage is not typically covered by most homeowners/renters insurance policies sold in the US

3. Can I buy Flood Policy in Birmingham? – If you live in a municipality that participates in the NIV, you can take out flood insurance. Birmingham, Hoover, Vestavia, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Alabaster, Chelsea and many more municipalities participate in the NFIP.

4. How much coverage is allowed by the NIV? – The structure limit for residential houses is $250,000 and the content is capped at $100,000. The corporate structure limit is $500,000 and the corporate content limit is $500,000. Renters Content limit is $100,000.

5. Does flood insurance cover damage caused by storms, rivers or tidal waters?

Yes, provided that, if limited to your property, the floodwater covers at least two acres. There is also a general flood condition when two properties are affected, one of which is yours.

6. What are flood zones? – Floodplains are land areas identified by the FEMA. Each flood zone describes that land area in terms of flood risk. Everyone lives in a flood zone – whether you live in a low, medium or high risk area is debatable.

7. What is covered in my basement? – Flood insurance covers your home’s foundation elements and equipment needed to support the structure (eg, HVAC, water heater, etc.). Flood policies do not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors, ceilings, or personal belongings that can be kept in a basement.