Dallasblack.com: Article Blog


Living Big in The Big D

With Tara Deming
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 9:53 AM


By: Tara Deming

Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, has been inundated with flooding as result of Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and lingers as a tropical storm. The city roughly 243 miles south of Dallas has seen over 30 inches of rain in the last few days with officials expecting another 2 feet.  Unfortunately, the majority of the thousands of Texas homes submerged in floodwaters do not have flood insurance. Only 15 percent of homes in Harris County—which includes Houston are covered by flood insurance, CNN reports. Only 20 percent in the coastal town of Corpus Christie are covered. Standard homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage caused by a hurricane, but not damage caused by flooding from storm surges or overflowing rivers. The Federal government not only provides flood coverage up to $350,000 for your home and its contents through its National Flood Insurance Program, it also spends billions of dollars each year on disaster relief to victims. Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.  Yet a small number of homeowners have flood insurance.  Here are 3 myths that could be contributing to the low rates of coverage and their realities.


Myth- To get a policy, you must live in a flood plain

Reality- If you live in a flood plain, your mortgage company will likely require you to buy flood insurance. But you can purchase it even if you don’t live within a flood zone.  Truth is, Floods can happen anywhere and storms are not the only cause of floods.  Flooding can be caused by dams or levees breaking, new development changing how water flows above and below ground, snowmelt and much more. More than 25 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone according to the National Association of Realtors.


Myth- Flood insurance won’t cover my loss

Reality- Flood policies provide a maximum coverage amount of $250,000 to help protect the physical structure of your home including its foundation, plumbing and electrical systems; central air & heating systems, attached bookcases, cabinets and paneling; and a detached garage.  They also provide $100,000 in coverage of personal contents such as clothing, furniture and electronics; curtains; some portable appliances; freezers and the foods within them and certain valuables up to a specified limit.  Flood policies do not covermoisture or mold/mildew damage that "could have been avoided by the homeowner." Currency, precious metals, and paper valuables like stock certificates. Outdoor property such as decks, fences, patios, landscaping, wells and septic systems, and hot tubs and poolsLiving expenses, like temporary housing (if flood damage deems your home uninhabitable)Cars and other self-propelled vehicles.


Myth-Flood insurance is not affordable

Reality- I received a quote of $450 in less than 2 minutes online today for a single story, primary residence with an attached garage and no basement. The average cost of a flood insurance on average is $700 per year. However, premiums vary depending on your property’s flood risk.  For low-risk homes the premiums are closer to $400. There are also extra charges if you have a basement or the insured property is a vacation or second home. At $37.50 a month, flood insurance is currently an affordable investment in my eyes. However,The National Flood Insurance Program, is set to expire September 30. Lawmakers around the country have introduced bills in Congress to address the issues with the NFIP. The biggest issue is that premiums that homeowners pay simply don't cover the cost of the claims that have to be paid out.  It may be safe to say the cost of a flood insurance policy will increase.   Even still, FEMA reports that the damage from just 1 inch of water can cost $20,000.  I’d take my chances with the policy over mother nature any day.    


Flood disasters have been declared in every state in the past 5 years alone. Floods are not only coastal issues; they occur nearly anywhere, anytime.  Purchasing a flood insurance policy could be the difference between a quick and slow recovery.  However, homeowners who decide they want to buy flood insurance should not wait until a storm is brewing, experts say, since federal policies typically are not effective until 30 days after purchase. If you are interested in purchasing flood insurance, find an insurance agent near you. The agent who helps you with your homeowners or renters insurance may be able to help you with purchasing flood insurance too.