How do you buy flood insurance?
Last updated: June 2023
Repairing or replacing your home and belongings after they are damaged in a flood can be quite costly. While homeowners and renters insurance do not typically cover flood damage, a separate flood insurance policy helps protect your home and what's in it. Here's what you need to know about how to buy flood insurance.
Who provides flood insurance?
Flood insurance can be purchased through your insurance provider or insurer who participates in the National Flood Insurance Program,. (NFIP). The NFIP began in 1968, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), and is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In addition to providing insurance, the NFIP also helps with flood plain management and flood zone mapping, says the III.
Some private insurance companies also provide flood insurance.
How can I get a flood insurance policy?
According to FloodSmart.gov, NFIP policies can be purchased through many insurance providers across the country. Your insurance provider who helps you with your homeowners, auto or renters policy may be able to help you get flood insurance if your community participates in the NFIP. So, talk to your insurance provider about how you can help protect your home and belongings with flood insurance.
Who can buy flood insurance?
Homeowners, renters and business owners can purchase flood insurance. If you live in a high-risk flood area and have a mortgage with a federally regulated or insured lender, FEMA states that you must have flood insurance. However, even if you live in a moderate or low-risk area your lender may require you to have flood insurance, and you may want to consider buying flood insurance even if your lender doesn't require it.
How do I pay for a flood insurance policy?
If you're paying for flood insurance for the first time, FloodSmart.gov states that you'll submit payment through your insurance provider. The payment must be made before your insurance provider can submit the application to FEMA.
Homeowners may also be able to pay for flood insurance coverage through an escrow account, which is a separate account with your mortgage lender that is used to pay bills related to your property. Most lenders will require you to have homeowners insurance, which does not typically cover flood damage, but your lender may also require that you have flood insurance.
How do I renew my flood insurance policy?
When your policy is up for renewal, you should receive notification from your insurance provider or insurer who sold you the policy, according to FloodSmart.gov. Your renewal offer will include information on making your payment, which can be through your insurance provider, the mail or a servicing agent. If your coverage lapses, there is a 30-day wait for reinstatement. After a lapse, it is possible that the new rates could be significantly higher if the policy was previously eligible for a discount on the annual increase.
If you have an escrow account, your flood insurance premium may be paid by the lender through that account, but it's a good idea to confirm that with your mortgage company.
Is there anything else I should know about flood insurance?
Once you purchase flood insurance, there is typically a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase until the policy goes into effect. Your insurance provider can help you determine when the effective date is, as well as whether you qualify for one of the waiting-period exemptions.
Also keep in mind that you'll be responsible for the deductible, which is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance helps to pay for a covered loss. According to FEMA, this amount will vary from policy to policy. There are also limits to flood insurance policies, which is the maximum amount the insurer will pay for a claim.
Flood waters can do a lot of damage to your home and belongings. Knowing how to buy flood insurance is the first step in helping to protect yourself financially against potential flood damage.