Flood Information 101
By now, you probably know that only flood insurance covers flood damage, but you probably don't know all of the details. Here are a few of the more frequent terms:
Flood insurance can only be purchased through an insurance agent; you cannot buy it directly from the federal government. If your local insurance agent is unfamiliar with the NFIP you can:
Find an agent serving your area; or
Contact the NFIP at (888) 379-9531 to request an agent referral
As with any other type of insurance, it's important to know what your policy does and doesn't 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 from. Like other insurance plans, a higher deductible will lower the premium you pay, but will also reduce your claim payment. Your mortgage lender can also set a maximum amount for your deductible.
Homes and businesses with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders in high-risk flood areas are required to have flood insurance. While flood insurance is not federally required if you live in a moderate-to-low risk flood area, it is still available and strongly recommended.
The NFIP, a federal program, offers flood insurance, which can be purchased through most leading insurance companies. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. These rates depend on several factors including the date and type of construction of your home, along with your area's level of risk. All premiums include a Federal Policy Fee and ICC Premium.
30-Day Waiting Period
There is typically a 30-day waiting period—from date of purchase—before a new flood policy goes into effect. Here are the only exceptions:
- If your lender requires flood insurance in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of your loan.
- If an additional amount of insurance is required as a result of a map revision.
- If flood insurance is required as a result of a lender determining that a loan that does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance.
- If an additional amount of insurance is being obtained in connection with the renewal of a policy.
Payment must be made for the full year's premium, unless your agent or company provides that independently. The National Flood Insurance Program accepts check and credit card payments (i.e. American Express, VISA, MasterCard). Coverage will not be effective until full payment is received.
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