In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left lots of people with questions about the differences between homeowners insurance and flood insurance. Flood insurance is an extra policy, but how do you know if you need flood insurance?
The fact is, Flash floods can occur at almost any elevation, even if you are not in a flood zone. And, because FEMA has made several changes in the flood zones over the past few years, you may be in a flood zone and not even know it. Unfortunately, these changes aren’t always reflected on the paper plans you find at your county’s office; but you can get more information online. Usually for a small fee, you can print out a report that will show you all the latest changes in the flood zones and even areas that have flooded in the past 100 years or more.
This knowledge will allow you to make an educated decision about whether you need flood insurance. But remember, there’s a 30-day waiting period for new policies to take effect, so don’t wait for the rains to start to make a decision.
Further information is available at FloodSmart.gov, the website of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
NFIP: Hurricane Season is Flood Season (PDF 103kb)