5 Tips to Get the Best Flood Insurance Plan for You

an old flooded den

Accounting for 40 percent of all disasters, flooding is the most common natural disaster to strike worldwide. In the U.S., it causes millions of dollars worth of damage across the nation.

If you don’t have flood insurance, you’ll be stuck paying for any damage and cleanup on your property since homeowner insurance does not cover flooding. Flood insurance is a must, and not just for those living in known flood zones. Many residents of Houston and North Carolina were uninsured in the last two hurricane seasons because homeowners believed they “were not in a flood zone”.

Keep reading to learn 5 tips for getting the best flood insurance plan for you.

1. Find Out How Often Your Property Floods

Before you can start shopping for flood insurance, it’s important to get a clear picture of your flood risk.

If you’re buying a house, don’t just assume that because there are no waterways near you that your home will never flood. In the same way, just because a babbling creek runs just behind your home doesn’t mean that during spring rains the creek will wind up in your living room.

There are several things you can do to understand your home or property’s flood risk.

Start by checking local flood maps. If you’ve recently bought your home, ask your realtor for these. They should be able to get you access to flood maps that cover your property.

You can also go online to FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. Their maps will tell you whether your home is in a known flood zone. If possible, review the history of the property. Look at any previous flood or water damage that has occurred, and figure out if bad weather or the nearby flooding river caused it.

Knowing what types of flooding your property is prone to and how often floods are likely to occur will help you choose the best flood insurance and determine how much coverage you need.

2. Cover Your Clean-Up

When most people think of insurance, they think of covering the damage and paying for repairs.

For insurance to cover fires, we think of rebuilding our home or repairing smoke damage. For theft insurance, we think of replacing stolen televisions and laptops. For flood insurance, we think of replacing carpet and damaged furniture.

But insurance should cover more than just repairs. It also needs to cover the many things you don’t think about.

With flood damage, that means paying for the cleanup.

You must clean up mud, water, and debris, not just in your home but elsewhere on your property. Depending on the extent of the damage and the size of your property, these costs can be nearly as much as the cost to repair your home.

When you’re shopping for flood insurance, check to make sure you’ll have enough coverage for the cleanup.

3. Learn What Kind of Flooding is Covered

Not all floods are created the same way.

Rain is the leading contributor to floods. Torrential downpours occurring in a short amount¬†of time can cause flooding anywhere, even in areas that aren’t typically prone to flooding.

Areas that experience frequent flooding, like those that are low-lying or with poor drainage, are even more at risk during these heavy rainstorms.

But sometimes, rain isn’t directly to blame. Snow melts or discharge from dams can cause rivers to flood their banks. Storms can cause lakes to surge inland. Tsunamis and hurricanes can cause flooding in coastal areas.

Just as all flooding is not created equal, all flood insurance is not created equal.

When you’re shopping for plans, find out what they each cover. The cost of your flood insurance might increase to cover additional flood threats. Sometimes, you may need to add extra flood insurance to cover less-common disasters.

Just because a natural disaster like a tsunami seems unlikely, doesn’t mean that it can’t occur. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and be 100% sure it adequately covers your home.

4. Start Your Search Early

As with any major financial decision, you don’t want to rush choosing the best flood insurance. You need time to read policies, check coverage and figure out exactly how much flood insurance you really need.

If you try to rush the process, you may end up with inadequate coverage, or with coverage that doesn’t cover your home or property’s needs.

The best tip you can follow when shopping for insurance is to start your search as soon as possible. While you’re considering policies, take the time to read through the fine print and ask plenty of questions.

You want to know what you’re paying for, what you’re covered for and what you have to do if you need to use your coverage. Our team understands flood regulations and policies and can help review current coverage as well as shop for the best protection for your property.

5. Learn How to Use Your Insurance

You’re paying for insurance so it’ll be there when you need it. It’s always best if you never have to use your coverage, but it’s also important to understand how to use it if you need it.

When you’re looking at potential flood insurance policies, it’s a good idea to ask what you must do if you need to file a claim, and how to do it.¬†Steps can include notifying your insurer, documenting the damage, completing a Proof of Loss and more.

While how you file claims might not have a big impact on which policy you choose, it will help you better understand what you’re signing up for.

When you work with McMahon Insurance Agency, we will handle your claim process for you. Our claim service begins immediately after we receive your report. We work for you throughout the entire process and are here to answer any questions and help ensure you have a satisfactory resolution to your claim.

Choosing the Best Flood Insurance

Choosing the best flood insurance starts with finding a reliable insurance provider that you can trust.

If you’re a homeowner or renter in or around New Jersey, check out our flood insurance coverage page to find out how we can protect you, your prized possessions and your beloved home when disaster strikes.