Essential Flood Insurance

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the U-S. But most people don’t have adequate insurance to protect their home.

Consumer Reports survey found one out of three homes damaged by floods during last year’s Hurricane Sandy were not covered, and those that were didn’t have enough coverage.

Charlie Farris, Homeowner said, “There was an L-shaped nice white leather couch here. Every piece of furniture had to be removed from the house because of the risk of mold. It was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking.”

Consumer Reports Money Adviser says there are many misconceptions about flood damage and insurance.

Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports Money Adviser said, “Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage for either your home or your belongings. For that you need flood insurance. And we recommend coverage both for your home and its contents.”

Be aware even with contents coverage, you’ll only get the value of your belongings when the flood hit, not what it will cost to buy everything new.

Stanger said, “If you’re a homeowner, getting enough coverage for the structure itself is also really important. Our advice: Get as much coverage as you can.”

The website can help you determine the amount of available coverage and the estimated cost. Most residential flood insurance comes through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so the terms and costs are standard.

“A warning: Just because you don’t live near a body of water doesn’t mean you don’t need flood insurance. Heavy rains could cause flooding. In fact, 1 in 5 flood claims comes from an area that’s not considered high risk.” said Stanger.

Charles Farris regrets not having adequate flood coverage. It’s a mistake that’s costing him plenty out of pocket.

“To bring it back the way it was, I think I’m looking at 80 thousand dollars including contents.” Farris said.

Consumer Reports Money Adviser says one way to keep reduce flood insurance premiums down is to raise your deductibles.

Another tip –– check to see if you can pay a lower premium if you locate your central air-conditioning unit and other home systems above the flood line.

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