It's a good idea to purchase flood insurance whether you rent or own the condominium. Home insurance and renters insurance do not cover flood damage.
Most flood insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program. The policies, backed by the federal government, are sold by private insurance companies and agents. You can find a link to local agents who sell flood insurance on the NFIP Floodsmart.gov website.
You can buy flood insurance if your community participates in the program, with one exception. You are ineligible for flood insurance if your condominium was built after 1982 and is in a federally defined Coastal Barrier Resources System. Land in the system includes ocean and Great Lakes coastal areas that are protected from development to provide a buffer between storms and inland areas.
Don't count on the condo association's flood insurance policy to protect you. That policy protects common areas and the building, but not any of your possessions. If you own the condo, then it's a good idea to get building and contents coverage to cover structural elements of your unit and your belongings. If you rent, you can buy a flood insurance policy that covers contents only.
Flood insurance offers replacement coverage for the structure of a dwelling, but only gives you actual cash value coverage for belongings. That means you only are reimbursed for the cost of the item when it was new, minus depreciation.
Flood insurance also does not include additional living expenses coverage, which pays for the extra costs you incur if you can't live in your condo while it's undergoing repair from a covered loss.
To learn more about what flood insurance does and doesn't cover, see "5 ways flood insurance may soak you."
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