As the leading cause of U.S. natural disasters and weather-related fatalities, floods cause more than $2 billion in property damage each year. Yet, many policyholders don't realize that flood damage is not covered under homeowners or tenants insurance. For flood coverage, you need a separate flood insurance policy. Amica can provide flood insurance to policyholders through the government's National Flood Insurance Program.
What is a Flood?
The National Flood Insurance Program defines "flood" as:
"A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
- Mudflow; or
- Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above."
One way to help protect yourself from suffering losses from floodwaters is to understand what flood insurance is and how it works. Here's a brief course:
What are Flood Zones?
Flood zones are geographic areas that are determined by studying how floods have affected specific regions over the last 100 years. These zones are charted on government-drawn flood maps, and these maps are updated whenever major floods alter the flood zone regions.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance can cover a structure or its contents or both. As a homeowner, you may want to purchase both structural and contents coverage, but as a renter, you can buy just contents coverage since you are not responsible for insuring the structure.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
While standard flood insurance rates are set by the government, premiums vary depending on the potential for flooding in your area, the year the structure was built, the amount of coverage you purchase, and the amount of your deductible. To find out how much flood insurance would cost you, call Amica today at 800-242-6422 or contact us.
Does Flood Insurance Go Into Effect Immediately When I Purchase it?
No. There is a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy (or an increase in a policy) takes effect. So it's not possible, for instance, to obtain flood insurance coverage the day before a hurricane strikes. There are some exceptions to the waiting period, for example, when you purchase a new home or refinance your home and the mortgagee requires flood insurance.
What About Federal Assistance for Flood Damage?
Some people believe they don't need flood insurance because, should they experience flood damage, they can count on federal government assistance. This is a misconception. Federal assistance is available for flood damage only when the President issues a major disaster declaration. And, even then, disaster assistance is limited-less than half of all floods qualify for such assistance.