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Flood Insurance: Do You Really Need It

During the last several years the subject of flood insurance has become somewhat controversial. The gist of the controversy revolves around homeowners believing that they have protection against flooding when, in fact, they do not. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina truly brought this subject to the fore as many hundreds of homeowners attempted to file claims and were subsequently denied because they did not have flood insurance. Hurricane Katrina is just one of the many natural disasters that have occurred, causing thousands of homeowners to lose their homes due to flooding. Knowing, for certain, whether your home is insured against flooding should be a priority for all homeowners.

Homeowners should understand that there is a huge difference between water damage and flooding that is caused by nature. Water damages, such as happens when a water pipe breaks and floods the floor, are usually covered in a homeowner’s policy. This type of damage is often listed in the policy.

Flooding that is caused by high water from external forces is often not spelled out in a policy. If it is not specifically stated in the policy that you are protected against such events, chances are you are not protected. Many homeowners simply assume that they are covered for flooding events when, in fact, they are not.

There is only one way to know for certain if your home is covered for flooding and that is to read your insurance contract. Your homeowner’s policy will state what you are protected against. If you read through your policy and do not see any reference to flooding, you are probably not covered.

So do you need flood insurance if you do not have it already? That is a question that only you can answer. There are many areas in the country that are “prone to flooding” are in those cases you would be much better off having the insurance. If you live near any body of water (lakes, rivers, dams, oceans) you should have this insurance, no questions asked. Heavy rains can force water out of their areas and cause flooding at any time.

If you want to add flood insurance but cannot find it available in your area or for your home, you can go online and research the federal programs that are set up for this. You may find that in some areas that are prone to flooding, many insurance carriers do not want to add new policies. This is where the federal programs can be very useful.

According to FEMA, floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S., and that floods can happen anywhere in the country. The small added cost of flood insurance is an investment well worth taking on as this can be the difference between losing your home and keeping it should flooding occur in your area.

FEMA offers a very useful, interactive website that can help you decide if you need this insurance or not and can help you decide on how much insurance you need. This is a very good place to begin your research.

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