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When you buy a home, you’ll be asked if you want to purchase flood insurance. Sometimes it’s obvious a homeowner needs such coverage, but other times the need is less clear. But the widespread flooding here in Florida caused last June by Tropical Storm Debby, not to mention the damage caused last October in the Northeast by Hurricane Sandy, should be a wake-up call about the importance of flood insurance to protect your home and possessions. Many of the affected homeowners lived in areas of low flood risk, and many did not carry flood insurance. With our official hurricane season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to review your coverage.
So how do you know if coverage is needed? Here are tips from Jim Martin at the Welch Group (www.thewelchgroup.net) that can help you decide.
1. Find out if you are in a flood zone. Any insurance agent should be able to tell you, and you sometimes can find the information on the property appraiser’s website.
2. Learn your zone. The category of flood zone determines your flood insurance rate. Mortgage lenders will require you to carry flood insurance if you live in the A zone or V zone. The X zone is a preferred-risk flood zone. Lenders may not require flood insurance, but you still may choose to carry it.
3. Get a copy of an elevation certificate. If you are in an A or V zone, be sure to get a copy of an elevation certificate from the current homeowner or through your local zoning department. Also, a surveyor can accomplish this for you.
4. Low-risk zone insurance is affordable. If you live in the low-risk zones of B, C or X, the coverage can be as low as $129 a year to a maximum of $376 a year for the best-possible coverage. Tropical Storm Debby caused a lot of the damage in the low-risk areas, and many homeowners were out of luck because they had not purchased flood insurance. Because all flood insurance is underwritten by the federal government, coverage costs the same price, regardless of the carrier.
For more information on flood insurance, contact me or Jim Martin at (888) 855-2921.
Maria Hoffman Tampa Home Group (813) 907-2555 firstname.lastname@example.org