Knowing Your Home’s Flood Risk Before Hurricane Season Could Save You Thousands of Dollars



ORLANDO, Florida – The average height above sea level in Florida is around 6 feet. Whether or not your home is in a flood zone, insurance is something to consider when preparing for the hurricane season.

Dewanda Davis, FEMA Regional Flood Insurance Liaison for Region 4, which covers Florida, says 25% of flood insurance claims come from people not in areas at high risk or liable to flooding. This essentially represents 1 in 4 complaints filed.

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Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, hitting the state with 130 mph winds, heavy rain and severe flooding. (Copyright 2017 CNN)

Davis has heard all the excuses.

“’It never floods. If it floods here, Noah’s Ark should be here. We hear this often and try to dispel it, ”Davis said.

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Davis said everyone needs to look at their individual risk.

Yes, flood insurance can be expensive and it’s a premium that cannot be paid in installments.

There is good news though: the cost depends on the location.

“If you are in a low risk area, chances are that this premium will be more affordable for you. And it won’t be a burden to buy flood insurance, ”Davis said.

According to Davis, that premium can end up being less than what you pay if you don’t have a policy and suffered damage from a hurricane.

Davis broke down the numbers and found that the average flood insurance claim paid out $ 43,000. If a homeowner does not have a policy and relies on FEMA Disaster Assistance to help repair the damage, that homeowner could receive up to $ 6,000 if a federal disaster declaration is made. This would leave the owner $ 37,000 to pay out of pocket, based on the average claim. Without this declaration, the entire cost of repairing the house is left to the owner. That’s a lot of money and the expenses add up quickly.

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“Typically, an inch of water in your home on this first floor is about almost $ 25,000 in damage,” Davis said.

This is usually where the most expensive items to replace, such as kitchen cabinets and flooring, are found in the home. Davis also advised homeowners to make sure the contents inside the home are covered as well. Many policies only cover the structure and not the personal effects inside.

FEMA offers policies under the National Flood Insurance Program.

“The key is if you have a flood insurance policy, you are covered whether or not there is a federal disaster declaration,” Davis said. Regarding the payment of the policy, work is underway in Congress to make flood insurance payable in monthly installments, but for now, the cost of the policy is due at the time of purchase.

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