If you ever find yourself asking, “Do I need flood insurance?” and you don’t know the answer, it’s time to take a closer look. Flood insurance is particularly important in Florida and can help quickly cover the expenses associated with flood damage, including removing water, disinfecting flooded areas, and restoration projects. Our FAQ is an excellent place to start to learn about flood insurance requirements in Florida, and how important flood insurance is for you.
Where is Flood Insurance Required in Florida?
Let’s talk about two important cases where flood insurance is mandatory in Florida. The first is based on flood zones. The federal government carefully maps flood zones based on the risks of floods occurring in those areas, which can vary depending on elevation, climate, nearby bodies of water, and so on. You can take a look at FEMA’s flood maps any time if you want to check a specific location. If you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender and your home is in a high-risk flood zone, then you are required to have flood insurance. Note that flood zone maps are constantly updated over time, which means that properties can be shifted into higher-risk zones even if they weren’t there before.
The second case where flood insurance may be mandatory is when lenders decide through their risk assessment and underwriting process to require a flood policy as part of a specific mortgage package. Around 20 to 25% of flood insurance claims come from low and mid-risk flood zones in Florida, so lenders will often hedge their bets by requiring insurance even if a property isn’t in a high-risk spot.
What is the Minimum Flood Insurance Coverage Required in Florida?
There are no current state flood insurance requirements in Florida for any property. This is why coverage requirements are mandated by lenders, the federal government, and similar entities instead of the state government. We keep an eye on flood-related regulations in the state and will be sure to let you know if this changes over time.
How Long Must Flood Insurance Be in Place Before a Flood?
A typical flood insurance policy includes a 30-day waiting period before becoming active, a rule put into place by federal legislation. Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case – the waiting period was once only several days long. However, as weather predictions grew more advanced and flood insurance became more available to the average property owner, people started rushing out en masse to get flood insurance a few days before flood-like conditions were predicted, or when a nasty hurricane looked like it was heading to land. This allowed the owners to benefit from the flood insurance without paying any premiums, an option that was eventually banned by extending the waiting period out to where flood predictions are much more difficult.
Should I Get Flood Insurance If I’m Not in a Flood Zone?
That’s the interesting thing about Florida – it’s not really an option. Because of the peninsula’s proximity to the ocean (not to mention hurricane season) and low elevation, all of Florida is in some kind of flood zone, be it high, mid, or low risk. You cannot find property in the state that is not at some risk of flooding.
But the question still pertains to low-risk flood zones: As we mentioned above, around 20 to 25% of claims on flood policies come from low to moderate risk zones. These zones do flood, so it’s a good idea to have protections in place if possible.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
Policies in Florida can vary, but generally premiums are around $500 to $600 per year. Rates can vary by zone, so living in a low or moderate-risk zone can make flood insurance more affordable.
What Happens When My House is Flooded with No Flood Insurance?
Some homeowners make the mistake of thinking that their homeowners insurance policy will cover flood damage to their house – it specifically will not. Homeowners insurance covers specific events like fires or burst pipes, but not widespread events like earthquakes and floods. Only specially designed policies can cover flood damage. Without a policy like this, all damage is paid for out of pocket. For extreme flood damage, there is also the option to apply for a FEMA grant that could potentially help repair your home and cover some living expenses, but this process takes time.
If your home was damaged by a flood, it’s important to take immediate action. Mold, bacteria, and other serious problems that can ruin a house or pose health risks start to develop in the hours after a flood. If you experience flood damage, contact MasterPro Restoration at once to help prevent the worst effects: We offer emergency cleanup and restoration services available 24/7 to work with you when you need it most. That includes vital steps to take after a flood, such as water removal, disinfection, and addressing any potential mold issues.