Flood Risk Floods are often associated with rivers and streams overrunning their banks or heavy rains from hurricanes and other major storms. While those are genuine hazards, the reality is that flooding can be caused by several factors that you may not have considered.
One factor to consider when evaluating your risk of flooding is the development and new construction in your area. A development project or new construction can drastically alter how the ground around the project is cleared of trees and other brush that help absorb ground water, or if the project has large paved areas, like parking lots, that could impact drainage and run-off. This could be true whether it’s a relatively small project like a new home being built next door to something much more significant, like a shopping center which may be large enough to impact flood risk for an entire neighborhood.
If you’re doing the “weekend warrior” thing and working on significant gardening or landscaping projects, remember that you don’t want to increase your flood risk inadvertently. For hardscape surfaces such as patios and paths, consider using semi-permeable materials such as flagstones or gravel that will allow groundwater to drain rather than collect (which it might if you were to pave these areas). Manage stormwater and runoff by planting vegetation that can help absorb water, and try to avoid projects that would cause water to drain back towards your home.
The reason it’s so important to be aware of these risks is because flood damage is excluded explicitly by homeowners’ and renters insurance policies. Flood insurance coverage, though, is available through independent insurance agents as a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal insurance mechanism. In the 1960s, taxpayers often had to “bail out” flood victims. Congress created the NFIP to make flood insurance available in communities that adopted floodplain management laws to reduce flood damage.
If you own or rent property in low- or moderate-risk flood areas, you can buy flood insurance and may be eligible for a lower-cost preferred-risk flood policy. Unlike homeowners insurance, flood insurance typically has a waiting period. The NFIP sets a standard 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect. However, it’s essential to discuss this with your insurance agent to understand the exceptions to the waiting period and whether it would apply to your situation. If there’s a new development in your neighborhood, it could impact your risk. A Lock Insurance independent insurance agent can help you sort out the coverage options, understand what the policy will and won’t cover, and can help you get a policy through the NFIP.