One of the first things that Florida homebuyers learn is that flood and windstorm insurance is a can’t-do-without part of being a Florida homeowner. The next thing they learn is that they might not be able to get a mortgage without it. They then call us and ask, “What is the cost of flood insurance in Florida?”
The short answer is – “Depends.”
Flood Insurance 101
1. First, it’s important to define a flood the way that FEMA does. Flooding is a temporary condition where two or more acres or two or more properties experience inundation by surface waters or mud. Surface waters can be rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams; or water from the ocean such as storm tides in a hurricane or a king tide; or water that comes from a breaking levee, dam, or seawall. Floods can happen with or without local rain, such as a river going into flood stage from a storm outside the local area.
2. You do not have to live in a flood zone to experience a flood. Even historically dry areas can experience flooding; the risk maps only calculate the risk. In fact, in the 100-year floodplain zone, there is still a 26 percent chance of flooding over the lifetime of the standard mortgage period.
3. Flood insurance covers the insured building, it’s electrical and plumbing systems; HVAC systems and water heaters; built in appliances, stoves and refrigerators; carpeting and window blinds; paneling, wallboard, and cabinetry; detached outbuildings; personal property that is not cash, precious metals, and stock certificates; personal electronics; even food lost from power outages.
Your crawlspace, basement, and walkout basement may not be covered, or covered in limited circumstances, and replacing your foundations can be a huge expense. There’s also a 30-day waiting period after you purchase the policy before it goes into effect unless it’s a new policy or is required by your mortgage company. On top of that, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the losses that result from a flood. So, if you think that your chances are pretty good of not having a flood, and if you do have a flood, you can afford to cover all those expenses, there’s not a lot to be said to convince you otherwise. If you’re going to sally forth without a flood insurance policy, you’d be best advised to save up enough cash and do a lot of praying
However, if you feel a teeny-tiny bit of doubt that you might possibly not be as high or as dry as you may have thought, or think that maybe picking up some extra coverage for your valuables might be a good idea, you should talk to one of E&L’s independent agents and get great coverage. We’ll work out a blend of policies that cover you seamlessly against the unexpected. Great coverage will not only protect you and your valuables, it’s a sound financial move as well. Give us a call!