Flood Insurance

Homes and vehicles in a community where the ground is covered in water.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created an insurance marketplace to serve the needs of millions of Americans who have suffered from water damage caused by flooding. FEMA regulates the flood mapping, which determines the flood zone of each home. The flood maps are updated periodically to more accurately reflect the risk of a flood incident.

Myth: I can't get flood insurance unless I live in an area with a severe flood risk.

Reality: Even if you live in an area with an extremely low risk of flood damage, you are probably still eligible to participate in the flood program. In fact, the premiums you pay are much lower than someone that lives in a high risk flood zone.

I get asked this question a lot:

I don't have flood insurance now, but my bank is telling me that in order to refinance my home, I'll need to purchase flood insurance. Why?

Since the flood maps are continuously being updated, your flood zone may have changed, your original loan may have been grandfathered in, or your bank's requirements may have changed. Consider inquiring with a different bank to see if they will have the same requirement. You may want to take this opportunity to consider the likelihood of a flood event and how it would impact you financially.

FEMA flood policies have a maximum limit (at the time of this writing, it is $250,000 in coverage for your home and $100,000 for personal property contents) If these limits are not adequate, you may be able to get a secondary flood policy, referred to as an Excess Flood policy, that will complement the primary flood policy.

When I was 19 I visited Brazil for two years performing volunteer missionary service. At one point, a small town near where I lived was badly flooded. Several of us took a bus to that town to help with the cleanup efforts. I could not believe the amount of damage that was caused. The people there who were in the part of town that had the deepest flood water clearly were barely making ends meet. I'm certain that not one of them carried any form of insurance, let alone flood insurance. I have personally seen how damaging a flood can be.

Stan Steele Insurance
Stan Steele Agency, Inc.
55 State Street
Bloomfield, NY 14469