Flood insurance is always recommended by Triest Agency. Most homes and businesses in our communities in South Carolina are subject to flooding as we all witnessed October of 2015 when buckets of rain fell causing serious damage and even some deaths. So what's the real truth behind flood insurance and what are the myths. I won't point any fingers as to who spreads these myths but I highly recommend that you take note.
"I don't live in a flood zone"
Biggest myth of all. It is really a game of semantics that could be easily rectified if the national flood insurance program would change the terminology. This is directly from FEMA. Flood hazard areas identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHA are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood. SFHAs are labeled as Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1-A30, Zone AE, Zone A99, Zone AR, Zone AR/AE, Zone AR/AO, Zone AR/A1-A30, Zone AR/A, Zone V, Zone VE, and Zones V1-V30. Moderate flood hazard areas, labeled Zone B or Zone X (shaded) are also shown on the FIRM, and are the areas between the limits of the base flood and the 0.2-percent-annual-chance (or 500-year) flood. The areas of minimal flood hazard, which are the areas outside the SFHA and higher than the elevation of the 0.2-percent-annual-chance flood, are labeled Zone C or Zone X (unshaded)."
Here's the rub. If your property is in a "special" flood hazard zone which are zones A and V then you're required to have flood insurance if you have a mortgage. These are mandatory flood hazard zones. But there is also the X zone which is a flood zone, just not a "special" flood hazard zone and not a mandatory zone. Many people falsely believe that if you're in an X zone which is a flood zone but not a special flood zone then you're not in a flood zone. Wrong. That's myth #1. Flood insurance is available and a considerable number of claims annually come from an X zone.
"My homeowners insurance covers water damage".
Yes and no. If you have damage to your home from flood then it is never covered under a homeowners insurance policy. So what's a flood? FEMA defines a flood as
- A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (at least 1 of which is the policyholder's property) from:
--Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
--Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
- Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above."
While flooding is not covered, a broken water pipe from your plumbing that "floods" your house may be covered. The water pipe may look like it caused a flood but not as defined by FEMA and generally not excluded under a 'special form" homeowners insurance policy.
"My flood insurance policy provides personal property coverage"
Yes and no. A flood insurance policy may provide coverage for personal property or your contents but this part of it is not mandatory. FEMA requires flood insurance for property located in zones A and V but only as it pertains to the main house. FEMA doesn't require coverage for your contents so that's voluntary and some people mistakenly don't include this coverage. Triest Agency recommends that you have your personal property or contents covered under the flood policy.
Flood policies have a 30 day waiting period before coverage is effective in most cases unless it is a new home purchase. Why 30 days? The flood insurance program doesn't want people to buy coverage only if they see a hurricane or flood coming. They want you to be responsible and buy and keep the coverage at all times. For more information, we're here to help dispel these and other myths about flood insurance. What was explained here is only a brief description and in no way is it intended to be comprehensives. We recommend that you read your flood insurance policy carefully.