Catastrophic rain, similar to Hurricane Harvey, in Greater Houston, serves as a reminder every hurricane season as to why residents of places like Kingwood, Texas need to procure a reasonable flood insurance quote. A reputable local insurance agent is a must because they have an intimate knowledge of the Kingwood area and possess a clearer understanding of flooded areas than their national counterparts, which could yield big flood insurance quote savings for some residents.
Whether Kingwood businesses or homeowners decide to call a local or national insurance provider for a flood insurance quote, there are several points to keep in mind:
- Texas Homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flood-related damages from rising water.
- Flood insurance quotes should be free.
- The process for procuring a flood policy should be user-friendly and straightforward.
- In most cases, flood insurance policies, from NFIP, do not take effect until thirty days after the purchase date.
Questions to Ask Flood Insurance Providers
In addition to the above considerations, it is wise to build a list of questions to discuss. Ideally, if you are shopping for the best flood insurance quote, it can be wise to pose these questions to both a national and local agent and then compare. Many individuals find that they prefer the community feel, personal attention, and possible cost savings of using a local flood insurance provider. A great starting point for a conversation with a flood insurance agent may include some of the below questions:
- Do I live in a special zone that requires flood insurance? If so, why?
- Can you tell me my property’s estimated flood risk?
- How do you decide my property’s flood risk?
- How much coverage do I need for my property?
- What will my flood insurance policy cover?
- How much will my flood insurance policy cost?
- How can I save money on my flood insurance policy?
- What date will my flood coverage start?
As your conversation with an insurance agent progresses, make notes to their answers to the above questions. While it is wise to at least get a flood insurance quote, you should not feel pressured to buy flood insurance on the spot. Take some time to review the answers, call back with any additional questions you may have, and then make an educated decision.
What Flood Insurance Covers
Before getting into the specifics about what flood insurance usually covers it is worth mentioning that not all floods are created equal. FEMA has specific definitions of what qualifies as a flood.
FEMA flood policies standardly have two components, structure and contents. The building and structure covers only the structure itself, as the name implies. A contents and building policy generally covers the structure as well as some of the contents in it, depending on the coverage chosen. In some circumstances you can choose which of these coverages to purchase independently.
In general, building coverage may include:
- The building
- The foundation
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Air conditioning equipment
- Water heater
- Built-in kitchen appliances
- Permanent cabinets, paneling, or bookcases
- Window blinds and debris removal
As with building coverage, content coverage typically may include:
- Personal items such as clothing
- Electronic equipment
- Food freezers and food inside
The Cost of NOT Having Flood Insurance
FEMA estimates that flooding is one of the most common and expensive natural disasters to occur nationally and that one out of every four insurance claims come from outside high-risk flood areas. To put things in perspective for residents of Kingwood and other areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey, FEMA estimates that fifty-seven percent of Harvey flood insurance claims came from outside the boundaries of high-risk flood areas. Beyond that, the payout averages were $32,000 in FEMA assistance for people who had no flood insurance versus $125,000 median payout for those that had a flood policy in force.
Many of these businesses and homes that were without flood insurance suffered major economic hardship from the loss and replacement of buildings and property. Unfortunately, the damaging toll seldom stops with financial devastation. It is not uncommon for individuals undergoing this kind of immense financial stress to also struggle with emotional and mental health.
While flooding affects individuals in a variety of different ways regardless of the coverage they have, getting a solid flood insurance quote can be the first step in attaining a little peace of mind.
Online Insurance Company vs. Local Insurance Agents
While flood insurance itself is standard, quotes may vary wildly. Although coverage can be purchased online, through a toll free provider or a local agent the price should be the same for the same coverage. The difference can frequently be attributed to literal boots of a local agent on the ground.
Flood insurance quotes relies on FIRMs or Flood Insurance Rate Maps to determine a property’s flood insurance quote. However, an insurance agent who lives and works in an individual’s community may have a more thorough understanding of historical localized flooding, regardless of the zone. And, they can make better coverage recommendations.
Getting a flood insurance quote is good. Understanding what is and is not included in your insurance quote is better. Realizing the ways in which a local agent can help you more confidently navigate flood insurance policies is best.