“BUT I DON’T LIVE IN A FLOOD ZONE”
Many people feel that flood Insurance is for homes that are located near the coast or by large lakes or rivers. Nothing can be further from the truth!
Extreme weather can and will happen. Floods and flash floods occur in all fifty states. Hurricanes are not the only natural events that will drive destructive flood waters into your home. Torrential rains, clogged sewer drains, soaked grounds and snow melt will contribute to catastrophic flood emergencies.
There have been several “Federal Emergency Declarations” in the Mid-Atlantic States since 2004 from tropical depression Ivan, to severe northeast storms and snow. We will probably never see an intense storm like Katrina in New Jersey (fingers crossed), but that does not mean there aren’t other potential flood dangers facing us here in New Jersey.
What is the danger? The danger I’m talking about is not carrying a flood insurance policy. Even one inch of water in your home could cost you thousands of dollars in damages.
Let me be clear on this!
Your homeowner policy will not pay for flood damage.
You will need to purchase a separate policy.
So how does it work?
The flood insurance program is actually run by the US Government as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They set the rules and the rates and allow several private insurance companies to write the policy on their behalf. The premiums are set by FEMA based on the property location and amount of coverage requested. Properties are located in various “zones” and can be classified as being in a “special flood hazard zone” or in a regular non-hazard zone. Obviously the closer the dwelling is located to a body of water the greater the likelihood that it is in a “special flood hazard area”. Flood insurance premiums are higher if a property is located in a special flood hazard area.
If you are purchasing a home in a flood hazard zone, chances are good that the lending institution supplying your mortgage will require flood insurance, minimum to the amount of the loan. People paying cash for their home are not required to obtain flood insurance but we would strongly recommend it.
Homes not near the water will likely be considered to be not in a flood hazard area. These properties can still purchase flood insurance at surprisingly inexpensive rates. In many instances a preferred policy is available for under $400.
Each municipality in New Jersey maintains flood maps and can tell you which flood “zone” your property is located in. Homes located in special flood hazard zones may be eligible for significant discounts based on the finished elevation of the dwelling and the type of foundation. In short, the higher the elevations of the structure off the ground, the less likely the chance of flood damage and the lower the insurance rate.
We can review the “flood zone” in which your home is located, determine the structure and foundation type and review some coverage options and deductibles with you. Each of the members of our protection team are well versed in giving you the best coverage possible at the least expensive price.
I hope that the information provided here has helped you to gain a greater understanding of flood insurance and how important it is. We routinely write to our customers and friends about this subject and the changes that continue to occur on the federal level. The various named hurricanes that have traveled up the Atlantic coast and the infamous Nor'easter that routinely hit the New Jersey coast line have all done considerable damage to properties that were not anywhere near a special flood hazard zone.
The good news is that this product is easily available and the trained professionals at NorthEast Insurance can make it affordable for you!