Hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30, but that doesn’t mean Florida residents can’t experience an early- or late-season hurricane. Those that live in a flood zone are at the highest risk for damage to their home or business. It’s imperative that individuals know if they live in a flood zone, allowing them to obtain the right insurance coverage.
Flood Zone Information
Individuals can determine if they live in a flood zone by contacting their insurance agent or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. Many local governmental agencies also have copies of the FEMA maps.
Flood Zone Insurance
Those living in a flood zone need insurance to protect their investment. Few public insurance companies offer flood insurance in Florida now. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides the vast majority of flood insurance policies in the Sunshine State.
Hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent. People who have never experienced flooding now need flood insurance as storm surges are reaching farther inland than ever before. Storm surges have two components – they can reach heights of 40 ft. in the middle of the hurricane before reaching land and spreading out as far as 25 miles inland during landfall.
A traditional insurance policy won’t cover flooding. The last few hurricanes that hit Florida caused damage never seen before. Many insurers cancelled policies. Others became insolvent or stopped doing business in the state.
Flood insurance through FEMA will provide the coverage for individuals to repair direct physical losses to structures and belongings. The program offers two types of coverage – one for structures and one for possessions. The flood insurance covers multiple items, but individuals should know that the cause of the flooding is a key component that dictates what’s covered and what’s excluded. Understand the policy before the coverage is needed.