The most common natural disaster in the United States? Flooding. And it’s also the most costly, according to FEMA, where one inch of water can amount to $25,000 in damage.
Specifically, one natural disaster that has the potential to bring flood damage is a hurricane. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Atlantic hurricane season runs from August through October, producing on average 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Did you know?
The average paid loss for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was $97,140, according to the NOAA. But most types of federal funding for these emergencies are in the form of a loan.
2 out of every 3 homes in the U.S. are under-insured for natural disasters, including floods. Homeowners insurance and renters insurance typically do not cover floods.
Even if you live in an area that is low or moderate flood risk, FEMA states you are 5 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years.
What’s a homeowner to do?
You can purchase flood insurance through private flood insurance companies or from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Note that there is typically a 30 day wait period for flood insurance to take effect. According to St.Pete.org, any floodplain property with federally backed mortgages is required to have flood insurance.
The cost of flood rates can drastically vary, ranging anywhere from less than $400 per year to several thousand dollars per year. The rate you’ll pay for flood insurance comes down to:
- Year of building construction
- Building occupancy
- Number of floors
- Location of its contents
- Flood risk (your flood zone)
- Location of the lowest floor in relation to the Base Flood Elevation on the flood map
- Deductible and amount of building and contents coverage
After a Flood
In the case that your home is flooded, FEMA provides the following tips for what to do.
- Personal safety is always the highest priority when entering buildings damaged by floodwater.
- Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
- Turn off the gas. Be alert for gas leaks.
- Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.