Do I need to buy flood insurance even if I don't live near water?

By Insurance.com Posted : 01/01/2011

Flood insurance is a good idea even if you don't live near a river or the ocean. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the country, and they occur in every state.

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About a third of disaster assistance for flooding goes to people who live outside of high-risk flood areas, and more than 20 percent of flood insurance claims are filed by people who live in low- or moderate-risk areas. The average flood insurance claim has totaled almost $48,000 for the last 10 years, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Only a few inches of water from flooding can cause a devastating amount of damage.

The good news is flood insurance is very affordable--as low as $129 a year--if you live in a low- to moderate-risk area for flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides the vast majority of flood coverage in the United States. You can buy an NFIP policy from any insurance company or agent that is certified to sell it.

Remember that flooding is not covered under standard home insurance. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy to get it.

Make sure the flood insurance policy you buy covers both contents and the structure. You can purchase up to $250,000 in flood insurance for the structure and up to $100,000 for contents through the NFIP program. If you need additional coverage, you can buy excess flood insurance for any damage above those caps from private insurance companies.

Be aware of other limitations. Flood insurance, for instance, does not cover most personal belongings in basements, and it does not cover belongings or property outside the home, such as hot tubs or swimming pools.

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