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Flood Insurance

Florida has many miles of coastline and is dotted by lakes and rivers. Flooding can affect almost any building or structure in the entire state and many property owners fail to purchase the proper insurance to protect their investment. If a property is in a high risk flood zone, the owner will be required by their mortgage company to purchase flood insurance. What most property owners don’t realize is that 25% of the damage caused by flooding happens to buildings in low to moderate risk areas known as “X” zones.

Many owners also aren’t aware that their homeowner’s or property insurance policy will not coverage damage caused by a flood. Building owners must purchase a separate flood policy or endorsement to have coverage for floods.

These facts mean that many of the buildings in Florida are not properly protected by insurance for flood damage.

The National Flood Insurance Program defines a flood as a condition where two or more acres, or separate properties, are inundated by water or mudflow. This means a flood must involve more than one acre or piece of property and it must be affected by rising water or mudflow. The easy way to determine what is a flood is to remember the term “rising water”. Common causes of rising water in Florida are:

  • storm surge
  • overflowing lakes or ponds
  • overflow from canals and ditches
  • streets or drives that are not able to drain fast enough

Most homeowner’s policies cover water damage from bursting or leaking pipes, hot water heaters and other plumbing, but they will not cover rising water coming from outside the structure.

Tropical Storm Fay hit the state of Florida in 2008. This storm dropped a whopping 27 inches of rain in some areas and caused widespread flooding. Streets became inundated with water and the drainage systems were not able to keep pace with the amount of rain that was falling. Many homes and buildings that had never suffered damage were flooded simply because the water could not drain from the streets as fast as it was falling. Many homes were flooded and homeowners found out the hard way that their homeowner’s policies did not provide adequate coverage.

Erb and Young believes that every building in Florida is a good candidate for flood insurance. Storms like Fay prove that any existing storm drainage can be overwhelmed and cause damage to the neighboring structures. Flood insurance can also generally be very affordable. Most policies for homes range from $200-$400 per year.