When we think of floods, we usually think of natural disasters - like hurricanes - that completely destroy homes. But floods can happen pretty much anywhere, and they aren't always devastating. Even just an inch of water can cause upwards of $25,000 in damages, according to FEMA. Here are some things to know about flood insurance in Houston so you can keep your family and your home protected, no matter what happens.
Who Can Get Flood Insurance?
Homeowners who live in high-risk flood zones are usually required by their mortgage lenders to carry flood insurance. These homes are determined to have a 25% chance of flooding within 30 years, which is the typical length of a mortgage.
But just because you live outside of a high-risk flood zone doesn't mean you're in the clear. Floods can happen anywhere, not just areas that are near large bodies of water. Nearly everyone in the U.S. is eligible for flood insurance. You can check FEMA's website to see if your community participates in the national flood insurance program.
What Causes Flooding?
Flooding can happen to nearly any home for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for floods are:
- Natural disasters: Nearly 90% of all the natural disasters that take place in the U.S. result in flooding.
- Excessive snow melting: Homes in the Midwest are especially susceptible to having large amounts of snow melt on their homes and cause flooding. A winter of heavy snow can also overflow lakes, which can lead to floods if you live near one.
- Excessive rain: Rain can seep into your home and cause flooding in all or part of it.
- Dam failure: There are over 80,000 dams in the country, and nearly 14,000 of them are deemed a high risk for damage if they fail. If you live downstream of a dam, your home could be at risk for flooding if the dam fails.
- Construction/new development: This can change how water drains and lead to unintentional flooding near the site of construction or new development.
What Types of Floods Are Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
FEMA has specific definitions for what is and is not considered a flood that is covered by your flood insurance in Houston. Some types of floods that are not covered by flood insurance are plumbing backups and roof leaks. These types of floods might be covered instead by your homeowner's insurance policy. Talk to your agent to make sure you understand what your homeowner's insurance policy covers and what your flood insurance in Houston covers.
Why Should I Buy Flood Insurance?
A lot of homeowners make the mistake of thinking their homeowner's insurance policy will cover flood damage. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Floods are not covered by homeowner's insurance, which is why supplemental flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Take a look at FEMA's map portal to see if your home is in a high-risk, moderate-risk, or low-risk flood zone. Note that the map doesn't consider dams, which can cause significant damage if they fail. If your home is near a dam but labeled low-risk, you still might want to consider getting flood insurance.
What Damage Does Flood Insurance Cover?
The two main areas flood damage covers are your home's structure and the contents inside it. There are restrictions, as with other types of insurance, so review your policy carefully. Here are some things that flood insurance will cover:
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Central air and heat systems
- Water heaters
- Some appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, washers, dryers and built-ins
- Electronic devices
- Portable microwaves
How Much Does Flood Insurance in Houston Cost?
How much you pay for flood insurance will depend on where you live, but in general, flood insurance in Houston costs around $600 per year. Work with your insurance agent to determine the best way to pay, whether annually or monthly, so you can fit this important insurance into your budget.
How do I Buy Flood Insurance?
Your insurance agent can work with you to make sure you have the right coverage when it comes to flood insurance. Unlike other types of insurance, flood insurance is government-backed and is underwritten through the NFIP. That means your rates and coverage will be the same no matter which insurance agent you go through.
To read more about flood insurance in Houston, visit our flood insurance page. To find out how much flood insurance will cost you annually, contact us. Our quoting process is fast and easy! We'll make sure your family and home have the right coverage to keep you and your belongings protected.