What would happen if you woke up tomorrow and your house was underwater?  What would you save?  What would you do?  It’s a scary prospect isn’t it?  Even if you are dealing with a few inches of water, flooding causes serious damage to your home.

There is a slogan that comes from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is that “Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone”.  While this certainly doesn’t sound optimistic, it is true. Even where there have not been floods for 40 years or more, floods do happen, the recent floods this spring are a sobering reminder.

The hard facts are that a regular homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flooding. Homeowners insurance covers damage to your property if caused by other means, such as a fire or a tree falling on it, but it does not cover water damage that results from flooding. 
If you are looking for a unique way to evaluate your risk, there is an assessment tool located on the National Flood Insurance Program

There are two types of flood insurance:

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)

The SFHA, as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) represents the 100-year regulatory floodplain. What this means is that in any given year, properties in this area have a one-in-100 chance of becoming flooded. Residents in the SFHA are only allowed to carry regular or Standard flood insurance which is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). To get a Standard or Regular flood insurance policy, please contact your local insurance provider. For information about the NFIP or flood insurance providers, please call 800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov.

Preferred Risk Flood Insurance (PRPs)
This is available to home-owners that are not considered at immediate risk However, FEMA warns that over the life of a 30-year mortgage, property owners in areas like Sacramento can expect an approximately 26% chance of flooding.  So this really is the “what if’ policy.  Again, just because you haven’t had a flood in 100 years, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

So, when buying a policy there are a few things to ask and things you need to know:
• Does my community participate in the National Flood Insurance Program?
• Can you confirm which flood zone I live in?
• Does my community participate in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS)?
• If so, does my community's CRS rating mean that I qualify for a CRS rating discount?
• What exactly will be covered in case of flood damage? What won’t be covered?
• How will my premium costs be affected by choosing coverage for building only, contents only or building and contents?
• How will my premium costs be affected if I choose a higher deductible?
• What is the policy fee?
• Are there additional expenses or fees I should be aware of?
• What is covered by Replacement Cost and what is covered by Actual Cash Value only?
• If your home is considered in a “Flood Zone” your agent may ask you for an elevation certificate.  More information on Elevation Certificates can be found by clicking here.
• Flood insurance has a thirty day waiting period on your policy. 

Finally, put together an inventory of your home’s contents.  Should something happen you will need this to make your claims. A simple form like this checklist can be priceless, it’s a good thing to have in the event of any disaster.