What You Need to Know about Floods and Flood Insurance
We have just experienced the worse flooding in Texas that I have ever known. I have lived in Texas my entire life and we have had floods but not at the level at which we have had. I have never known four major cities: Dallas, Austin, Houston & San Antonio to all be experiencing flooding at the same time. More than 35 trillion gallons of rain has fallen in Texas in May! These floods are unprecedented. We will live where are several roads and major highways currently closed due to flooding making egress in and out of places difficult. Most tragic is that there have been 25 deaths in Texas related to the May 2015 flooding.
When we appraise a property we will look up the flood determination of a property and provide a flood map within a report. If a property is located in a flood zone then we report it and provide a flood map. If your property is located in a flood zone then most likely the lender will require flood insurance for the loan. If your property is not located in a flood zone do not assume that you are free of risk of flooding.
What to know about Flood Insurance:
Where do I purchase Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) but it is not purchased through NFIP but from a licensed insurance agent. Check with your local insurance agent. There is a 30 day waiting period for the flood insurance to go into effect. This means that if flooding is about to occur in your area you cannot go and purchase insurance that will cover the event. If your Flood Insurance is purchased at the time of loan origination the 30 day waiting period is waived. Premiums are based on the risk determined from the FEMA Flood Maps. You do not have to be located in a FEMA flood zone to purchase flood insurance.
Doesn't my homeowner policy cover flooding?
No. Flood damage is typically not covered by a homeowners insurance policy. It is a good idea to consider purchasing flood insurance even if you do not live in FEMA Flood Hazard area. As we have seen recently, many areas have been affected by "Flash Flooding" which occurs when heavy rain occurs in a short amount of time. This can happen anywhere.
My home is flooded and I don't have flood insurance. What can I do?
If your area has been declared a disaster area there most likely will be some federal, state, and local programs for assistance. Disaster Relief Assistance information is provided below. You will want try to clean up as soon as the water recedes and it is safe. Proper clean -up following a flood can reduce molds and milder and lessen health risks. If you have experienced a flood that does not mean that you cannot purchase flood insurance. You can purchase flood insurance from NFIP even if your home has flooded.
Disaster Relief Assistance:
Texas Association of Realtors - Texas Relief Fund
Texas Division of Emergency Management -May 2015 Disaster Assitance
Here are some other resources that may be helpful:
Flood Facts from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
How can I protect myself from a flood- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Surprising facts about flood insurance- Houselogic
Real Estate Flood Insurance- What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know- Bill Gassett, Maximum Exposure Real Estate
My prayers and thoughts are will all who have been impacted by flooding. If you have any questions or additional information please let me know. If you can donate to any of the organizations that are helping with disaster relief please know that any amount is appreciated. Flood photos are courtesy of Mark Stewart.