Assessing home flood insurance needs is a top priority

Floodwaters sometimes cover a piece of property that has never before been touched by overflowing groundwater. This unpleasant surprise is destructive for lots of reasons. Valuable personal or business items are ruined, buildings are damaged, and property owners without flood insurance are devastated. This is why assessing home flood insurance is a vitally important activity for a homeowner.

A good place to begin this assessment is to visit the website of the National Flood Insurance Program. The site contains information about flooding, insurance coverage, and some perspective on rates. It also gives an overview of flood risks across the nation and how much, in any given region, one can expect to pay to be insured against them.

Homes in developed areas sometimes are subject to special features that can add to flood risk, such as large expanses of pavement that gather water and funnel it in sometimes destructive directions. Therefore, homeowners in urban areas should determine if the community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. To participate, the communities need to be aware of flood potential and to act to mitigate it.

In assessing home flood insurance, it is wise to learn what flood insurance covers and does not cover. The distinction between structural damage and contents loss needs to be understood so that a proper balance of coverage can be sought. For example, insurance coverage of basements often is minimal because the below-ground rooms are so vulnerable to flood waters. Basement decorations and furnishings should be viewed in this context.

The bottom line in assessing the need for home flood insurance is learning what it will cost to protect against unexpected loss. And a loss it always is: Immersing a home in great volumes of fresh water introduces rot, mold and mildew; when the water is muddy and contaminated, as it more typically is, floors, walls and furniture are impregnated with filth as well.

Flooded homes are a tragedy, but they need not be financially ruinous on top of that. Seeking out home flood insurance that is appropriate for a piece of property is a chief responsibility of a conscientious homeowner.

by Morgan Moran

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