Why You Need Flood Insurance

Why You Need Flood Insurance

It’s no secret that spring storms can bring heavy rainfall in short amounts of time. This not only can cause rivers and lakes to rise outside their banks, but it can also cause flooding in city streets and near homes.

Contrary to what many may think is covered under their insurance policy, a Home or Renter’s insurance policy will not cover a flood. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you need to also purchase flood insurance. Floods are one of the most dangerous disasters in the United States, and if you don’t purchase flood insurance, they can cost you big time. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that just one inch of water in a 2,000 square foot house will result in $23,000 in damage.

Flood season has arrived. Here are five reasons you need flood insurance now:

1. It’s not just for homeowners and businesses.
Flood coverage is available for renters. Condo owners can also purchase it. It will cover damage to your possessions from a flood.

2. Flooding is not covered under your standard policy.
Homeowners and renters need to purchase separate flood policies. Umbrella insurance does not usually cover flooding, either.

3. Floods aren’t limited to flood plains.
Every state has experienced flooding, and it can happen anywhere. The NFIP estimates that 25 percent of flood claims come from areas outside of high-risk flood zones.

4. Flood insurance doesn’t take effect immediately.
There is a 30-day waiting period from the date you purchase the insurance until you are covered, in most cases.

5. It’s often not as expensive as you think.
The average policy costs about $700 per year. The higher your risk, the higher your premium. Costs do vary depending on your flood risk and the year and type of construction. Keep in mind, the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $38,000.

Don’t delay, there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect. Call a California Casualty advisor today at 1.877.652.2638 to make sure you’re covered. Or, contact our Agency Services department at agencyservices@calcas.com.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Soaking up Seven Myths about Flood Insurance

7_myths_flood_insurance

If you live in a flood prone area, you should have flood insurance. It seems like common sense but many of us still don’t get it. As rivers crested to new heights and raging waters destroyed homes in Central and Southern Texas this spring, the Insurance Council of Texas fears that less than half of those with damage purchased a flood policy. Many thousands affected by record flooding in South Carolina may also be without flood insurance; state insurance companies estimate that only 10% of residents purchased flood protection.

Here are some reasons why people don’t buy flood insurance:

  1. They think their homeowners or renters insurance covers flooding
  2. They think the government will help them
  3. They think it’s too expensive
  4. They didn’t know it was available

Floods are the number one disaster in the United States and the National Flood Insurance Program estimates that just three inches of water in a 2,000 square foot house will result in $23,000 in damage.

With that in mind, let’s soak up seven myths that might be floating around about flood insurance.

  1. Flooding is covered under most homeowners insurance.

It is not. Homeowners and renters need to purchase separate flood insurance protection. Umbrella insurance does not usually cover flooding.

  1. I don’t live in a flood prone area so I don’t need it.

Every state in the union has experienced flooding and it can happen anywhere. The National Flood Insurance Program estimates that 25 percent of flood claims come from areas outside of high-risk flood zones.

  1. The Federal Government will help pay for flood damage.

Federal disaster assistance is only available when the president formally declares a disaster. The aid comes as low interest loans, not compensation for your damage.

  1. Flood insurance is only for homeowners and businesses.

Flood insurance is available to renters. It is also available to condo owners and renters. It will cover damage to your possessions from a flood.

  1. Flood Insurance is expensive.

The average policy costs about $700 per year: the higher your risk, the higher your premium. Keep in mind the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $38,000.

  1. I can get flood insurance coverage immediately.

In most cases there is a 30 day waiting period from the date you purchase the insurance before it goes into effect.

  1. I can shop around for the best flood insurance deal.

While you can purchase flood insurance from numerous companies, the price is set by the federal government and doesn’t vary. Rates do vary depending on your flood risk and the year and type of construction.

 

If you have experienced flood damage, here are some things you should be doing:

  • Make sure the building is safe to enter – mud and water may contain dangerous chemicals, bacteria or poisonous snakes and there could be a risk from electrocution
  • Secure the property from further damage or theft with plywood, tarps or plastic
  • Remove branches and other debris
  • Before cleanup, take photos or videos of all the damage
  • Throw out water damaged food including canned goods
  • Keep receipts for any items you buy to make temporary repairs and for living expenses, they may be covered if your loss is insured or can be used for tax purposes if the loss is not covered
  • Contact your insurance company – flooding and other water damage to your vehicle is covered if you have comprehensive auto insurance

 

For more information about what is and is not covered with flood insurance, visit https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/residential_coverage/whats_covered.jsp.

 

California Casualty can help keep you above water with flood insurance. Find out more today at 877.652.2638 or visit www.calcas.com/flood-insurance. Make sure your property is fully protected from wind, fire, lightning, hail or falling trees with a policy review by calling an advisor today at 1.800.800.9410 or visiting www.calcas.com.

 

Resources for this article:

https://www.floodsmart.gov.

https://www.ready.gov/floods

https://www.thestate.com/news/local/article37740939.html

What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners are dealing with Flooding damages.

We wanted to provide you with some basic Flood Insurance information* so you can be sure you are fully protected:

  1. Standard homeowners insurance does NOT cover flooding: Your homeowners insurance policy will not cover flooding damage. Only Flood Insurance covers this kind of damage. To learn more about Flood Insurance through California Casualty, click here or scroll down to read more.
  2. Flood damages are expensive: Just two inches of water could result in more than $7,000 in damages. The higher the water, the higher the costs.
  3. New Policies take 30 days to kick in: If your home is at any risk of flooding, protect it now. Flood insurance policies take 30 days to take effect.
  4. Flood insurance offers two types of protection: Flood insurance protects your building and the contents inside of the building. Neither type protects the land they occupy. 
    1. Building Coverage includes:
      1. The insured building and its foundation
      2. The electrical and plumbing systems
      3. Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
      4. Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
      5. Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors
    2. Contents coverage includes:
      1. Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
      2. Curtains
      3. Portable and window air conditioner units
      4. Portable microwaves and dishwashers
      5. Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
      6. Clothing washers and dryers

Securing Flood Insurance through California Casualty: 

We provide flood insurance through  the National Flood Insurance Program to offer you the best rates and service. It was created by Congress in 1968 to help property owners protect themselves financially against flood damages. To learn about the program, click here.

*These represent typical coverages, you should speak with an agent to verify what is and is not covered

 

Flood Insurance is Crucial

This has been a difficult spring in terms of natural disasters – from devastating tornadoes to a large number of hail storms. Currently, we’re watching towns in the south being submerged under water, and rivers in flood stages that haven’t been seen in recent history.

Our hearts go out these families, and you can rest assured that we are doing everything we can to help our customers who have been affected by all of these disasters. For many, seeing the flooding (and with hurricane season bearing down on us) begs the question – “Am I covered if this happens to me?” This press release just came across my desk, and hopefully it will answer some of those questions.

CHICAGO—With hurricane season starting on June 1st, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) urges homeowners, business owners and renters who do not currently have flood insurance to buy it right away.

“Many insurance consumers do not realize that their standard homeowners policy does not cover flooding, and that flood insurance must be purchased separately,” said Don Griffin, PCI’s vice president, personal lines. “Flood insurance is sold through agents who sell policies on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you have only a standard homeowners policy and suffer flooding from a hurricane, the flood damage will not be covered under that policy, so it is crucial to have flood insurance. Because NFIP policies don’t take effect for 30 days, the sooner people can buy flood insurance, the better.”

While having flood insurance in place is important in coastal areas, recent heavy rains have brought flooding to much of the nation’s heartland as well. Unfortunately, according to the NFIP, more than 50 percent of properties in high-risk areas remain unprotected by flood insurance, and in the northeast and Midwest, coverage rates are significantly lower. Even in coastal areas that live under constant threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, many homeowners or renters do not have this crucial coverage.

According to the NFIP, floods are the number-one natural disaster in the United States, and 75 percent of all federally declared disasters over the past five years have involved flooding. There is a 26 percent chance that a home will suffer flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage, and U.S. flood losses have averaged $2.4 billion per year over the last decade.

“In any part of the country where flooding is a possibility, property owners and renters should absolutely make sure to protect themselves and their belongings by purchasing flood insurance,” Griffin said.

Individuals who currently have homeowners or renters insurance should talk to their agents to see if their insurers sell flood policies. They can also locate agents who sell flood policies through the agent locator on the NFIP website.

Ways to Lower Your Home Insurance Costs

Ways to Lower Your Home Insurance Costs

The holidays will be here before you know it, and having extra cash on hand is always appreciated. One unexpected place you might find it is with your home insurance.

We’ve compiled some well-known — and lesser-known — ways that you can save money on home insurance. Follow these tips to lower your bills just in time for the holidays.

 

Raise your deductible.

The deductible is the amount that you pay before the insurance company pays a claim. Higher deductibles mean lower payments. According to NerdWallet, you could save 20 percent by raising a $500 deductible to $1,000. If you do increase your deductible, make sure that you can cover the costs of repairs should something happen.

 

Ask about discounts.

You may qualify for insurance discounts for being part of a professional association, such as groups for teachers, nurses or first responders. There are also discounts for being retired, for paying via automatic bank payments, and for paying in full upfront. You may qualify for a new home discount, or a discount if you have updated your utilities (electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling) in an older home. There are discounts for a new roof and an automatic sprinkler system. You can even be rewarded for being a loyal customer.

 

Remove attractive nuisances.

You may be paying extra for high-risk items. These attractive nuisances are potential dangers that could attract kids and cause injuries. Examples include trampolines, swimming pools, and playground equipment. If you are willing to get rid of these items, it may lower your payments.

 

Skip a payment.

Some insurance companies allow you to skip payments around the holidays. At California Casualty, you have the option to skip payments in either November/December or in December/January. (You also have this option to skip in the summer.) Ask your agent for details.

 

Take care of minor repairs.

Your home insurance policy can take care of both major and minor damage from a covered loss. But sometimes it’s easy enough to take care of those minor repairs on your own, out-of-pocket. That way you’ll avoid filing a claim and if you remain claims-free for a period of time, that qualifies for a discount, too.

 

Buy home and auto insurance from the same company.

When you bundle your home and auto insurance, you can often qualify for reduced rates, saving hundreds of dollars.

 

Make your home secure and disaster-resistant.

The better protected your home is, the less chance that there will be a claim. That’s why disaster-proofing and securing your home can save you in insurance premiums. To protect against disasters, consider storm shutter, impact-resistant roofing. Having a fire extinguisher could earn you a discount. For enhanced security, a burglar alarm and deadbolt locks can earn you discounts. While some of these repairs and updates are expensive, they will pay off in the long run. Remember that flood and earthquake insurance are not included in standard homeowner’s coverage. However, you can make home improvements that reduce their cost as well. Importantly, you will need a new home inspection before new rates can take effect, and you may need to pay for it.

 

Check your credit score.

Your credit score indicates your ability to pay your debts. Missing payments, not having a long credit history, and high credit card balances could create an unfavorable credit score. A credit score under 630 could increase your insurance rates, according to NerdWallet. You can get a free credit report once a year from the three credit agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Check your score, and take actions to improve it.

In addition, in some states, you can get your credit-based insurance score, which indicates how likely you are to file an insurance claim. If you are eligible for that report, you can find it at CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) from LexisNexis

 

Review your insurance limits annually.

If your insurance is billed to your mortgage bank, you may not think much about your annual premiums. But it’s a good idea to review your policies annually to make sure you’re not paying for coverage that you no longer need.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

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