Florida Flood Facts—Is Your Home at Risk?

Home Flood Insurance

If you live in Florida, the answer is probably yes, according to Roy Wright, former director of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 

Florida has the longest seacoast in the continental United States, as well as flat terrain and many rivers. Flooding can be caused by storms (including hurricanes), dams or levees breaking, or even new development that changes the way water flows. You don’t even need to live in an area known to be at high risk for flooding to find the water rising. More than 20 percent of all flood claims come from outside high-risk flood zones.

Here are some additional Florida flood facts:

  • Floods are the most common type of national disaster. Forty percent of all disasters worldwide involve flooding.
  • Just one inch of water in your home can cause more than $25,000 worth of damage.
  • Florida was affected by six of the 10 most significant flood events by NFIP payouts: hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Ivan, Irma and Matthew, and Tropical Storm Allison.
  • Residential properties in Florida have the most potential exposure to hurricane storm surge in the nation.
  • In 2016, just 14 percent of homeowners in the South carried flood insurance. (The national average was 12 percent.)
  • NFIP policies provide coverage of up to $250,000 for your home’s structure, and up to $100,000 for your personal possessions. If you need higher limits, you’ll need a private flood insurance policy.
  • NFIP authority must be renewed by Congress periodically, and is due for renewal by July 31, 2018. If it is not renewed, the NFIP will stop selling and renewing policies, but claims will still be paid.
  • Private insurers have become more comfortable underwriting flood policies because of better models to predict flood risk. In 2017, 33 private companies wrote flood insurance, up from 20 in 2016. Lakewood Financial represents several of these private insurers.
  • In 2016, the average amount of flood coverage was $246,890. Average premium was $656.
  • The average flood claim in 2016 was $62,247.
  • After a flood, most federal assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans which will need to be paid back. FEMA disaster grants don’t need to be paid back, but they are often much less than what you would need to recover. A flood insurance claim should provide the funds you need to get back on your feet.

Flood coverage is excluded under standard homeowners policies, but purchasing a flood insurance policy is more affordable than before. Lakewood Financial represents several private insurance companies that will write home flood insurance at competitive rates. Give us a call at 941-747-4600 or contact us online—let us help you protect your home from the risk of flood damage.

For more information, visit: https://www.floodsmart.gov/

Buyer Beware—Could That Car Be Flood Damaged?

flood damagedIf you’re in the market for a used car, be aware that hundreds of thousands of flood damaged vehicles were left behind by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. And many of these vehicles may have hit the used car market. These vehicles, often sold at auction, or on Craigslist or via private ad, should be avoided, even if they appear to run fine. Damage from floodwater can be unpredictable and your new-to-you car could prove extremely unreliable.

 

Don’t be sandbagged—watch for these signs of a flood damaged vehicle:

  • Unusually low price compared with similar models. (Check out a vehicle’s fair market value at kbb.com.)
  • A damp, mildew-y smell, or conversely, a strong smell of cleaning products—used to cover up a musty smell
  • Water damage or marks on carpets, upholstery, seat belts, or ceiling fabric
  • Brand new carpets or other fabrics in an older model car
  • Visible water lines on the headlights or taillights
  • Sand or silt under floor mats or under the spare tire
  • Rust on the inside of the car where water would not normally reach
  • Mud or debris in hard-to-clean areas
  • Electrical components that don’t work, such as windows, blinkers, or the radio

 

Your best protection with any used car purchase is still to have a trusted mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle. In addition, if you have the vehicle’s VIN, use CARFAX’s free flood check tool, or check its flood history at the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINcheck. Flood history is usually a part of the information you receive in any complete vehicle history report you purchase as well.

 

Be sure to give Lakewood Financial a call at 941-747-4600 (or contact us via email) whenever you buy a new or used car. We’ve been serving the insurance needs of Sarasota/Bradenton, Ellenton, Palmetto, Lakewood Ranch, and surrounding areas since 2003. As an independent agency, we specialize in providing quality insurance coverage at competitive prices.

Prepare Now for Flood Risk

florida flood risk

With Hurricane Harvey fresh in our minds, the Sarasota/Bradenton area is on alert watching the path of Hurricane Irma. While the effects of wind, such as damage from fallen trees, is likely covered under your homeowners insurance policy, less your deductible, damage from flooding is not. Therefore flood risk should be on everyone’s mind.

Part of our preparations for Hurricane Irma should include planning for the possibility of flooding.  Here are a few things you can do to before the storm arrives:

  • Evaluate your flood risk. How likely is it that your home or business will flood? Even if you’re not in an official flood zone, you still might be at risk for flooding under the right circumstances. Twenty-five percent of all flood claims come from the preferred zones B, C and X.
  • Know how to stay informed with alerts and information, whether you monitor local radio or TV stations, or listen to a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver. Make plans for how you’ll stay informed if the power goes out.
  • Understand the difference between a flood watch (flooding is possible in your area) and a flood warning (flooding is happening or is about to happen in your area), and be prepared to evacuate if public officials tell you to do so.
  • Know your best evacuation routes, and plan ahead of time where you’ll stay if you have to evacuate.
  • Make a plan for communicating with friends and family. Write down and keep with you copies of important numbers, don’t just store them in your phone.
  • Gather items you’ll need to take with you if you have to evacuate. Include clothes, food, water, first aid items, money, phones and chargers, and important documents such as insurance policies, home inventories, personal identification, and prescriptions. Also include any irreplaceable items like pictures or other mementos.
  • If you have valuable or sentimental items you’re not taking with you, bag them or put them in plastic bins if possible, and place them in the highest safe spot in your home.
  • Consider buying flood insurance for the future. Lakewood Financial represents several private companies that write flood insurance policies at a more competitive rate than those of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These policies also have higher available limits than the NFIP’s standard policies.  (Click here for a flood insurance quote.) 

According to insurance experts, only about 20 percent of the victims of the devastating floods in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey had flood insurance. The remaining 80 percent will have to find a way to rebuild with only the possibility of federal disaster relief, which comes in the form of low-interest loans which have to be repaid, or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster grants, which are typically not nearly large enough to cover the damage.

Floods are America’s most common and costly natural disaster, according to FEMA. They cause millions of dollars of damage a year, and can happen anywhere. Don’t wait until the water’s rising to prepare.

Give Lakewood Financial a call at 941-747-4600 if you have any questions about flood insurance, or if you’d like a quote. We are here to help.