The Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, is extremely vulnerable to flood damage. More than 30% of all properties in this city are in moderate- or high-risk flood zones. While it has been more than a century since St. Petersburg was hit by a Category 3 or higher hurricane, analysts say that another direct hit of that magnitude could be more costly than Hurricane Katrina was in 2005. That is why flood insurance is so important.
Flood insurance takes 30 days to go into effect, so don't wait until a hurricane is headed toward the Gulf to purchase a policy. An independent insurance agent in St. Petersburg can help you protect your property with suitable, yet affordable, flood insurance coverage.
What Is Flood Insurance?
Homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and business insurance can go a long way toward covering your assets and protecting your finances. However, these policies do not cover against flood damage. Fortunately, in 1968 the US federal government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to protect property owners from losing everything due to floods.
Flood insurance is a federally backed policy that provides affordable coverage to property owners, renters, and businesses. You cannot be turned down for coverage, and your rates will not increase following a flood claim. Talk to a local independent insurance agent to learn more.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in St. Petersburg, FL?
The average flood insurance policy in the US costs about $700, while Floridians pay an average of $550. Homeowners in low-risk areas can get coverage for as little as $200. Rates for flood insurance coverage are assessed in the same way across the country. These rates are based on:
- Whether your property is located in a high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk area: Risks are determined according to FEMA-drawn flood maps. Those in low-risk areas can get Preferred Risk policies at much lower rates, while those in flood zones will pay higher rates.
- How much coverage you are purchasing: You can decide how much structural and contents coverage you wish to include in your policy, up to a designated limit.
- The amount of your deductible: As with all insurance policies, the lower your deductible, the higher your cost.
- Whether your property has a basement: Homes with basements are generally less expensive to insure.
Talk to an independent insurance agent to learn how much a flood insurance policy for your St. Petersburg home or business will cost you.
Average Rainfall and Flooding in St. Petersburg
The city of St. Petersburg gets more rainfall than most of the country.
- US average annual rainfall: 38.61 inches
- St. Petersburg, FL average annual rainfall: 51.01 inches
Hurricanes and tropical storms can bring prolonged, heavy rains to the area. When this happens, the ground can quickly become saturated, drainage systems can be overwhelmed, and bodies of water like Long Bayou and Tampa Bay can overflow their banks. This can cause flash flooding and expensive damage in the St. Petersburg area.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in St. Petersburg, FL?
Mortgage companies require property owners in FEMA-mapped high-risk flood zones to carry flood insurance. Depending on your lender, this coverage may or may not be required if you live in a medium-risk area. Once you own your property outright, flood insurance is optional, but highly recommended.
FEMA estimates that as a little as one inch of water in your home can cause up to $25,000 in damage. While residents with property in designated flood zones are most at risk, flash floods can affect nearly anyone in St. Petersburg. In fact, about 20% of all flood insurance claims filed are for properties that are located in low-risk zones.
You may think that you can forgo flood insurance because FEMA will help you pay to rebuild following a major storm. However, you should be aware that FEMA’s assistance only comes if the area is declared a federal disaster, and the help comes merely in the form of guaranteed low-interest loans that must be paid back. Flood insurance is almost always the better choice.
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What Does St. Petersburg Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance is made up of two parts: structural coverage and contents coverage. Depending on your circumstances, you can opt to purchase just one or both types of coverage. Renters will only need contents coverage, while landlords may only be interested in buying structural coverage.
- Structural coverage: This pays to repair damage to your property’s foundation as well as to structural equipment such as electrical systems, plumbing, water heaters, furnaces, built-in appliances, and permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors. Homeowners can purchase a maximum of $250,000 in structural coverage, while businesses may purchase up to $500,000.
- Contents coverage: This pays to repair or replace personal belongings kept on main living floors such as clothing, furniture, electronics, portable appliances, and carpeting. Regarding property kept in basements, this covers only appliances that are normally kept in that part of the house, such as your washing machine, dryer, and freezer. Homeowners can purchase a maximum of $100,000 in contents coverage, while businesses have a limit of $500,000.
Talk to your local independent insurance agent for help determining how much of each type of coverage is right for you.
What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
Homeowners with finished basements are often surprised to learn that, other than appliances that are normally kept in a basement, personal property stored in this area of the home is not covered by flood insurance. Additionally, flood insurance will not cover:
- Remediation of mold and mildew
- Outdoor property including swimming pools, lawn furniture, trees, landscaping features, wells, and septic systems
- Structural damage caused by earth movement like mudslides, even if it is the direct result of a covered flood
- Currency and documents
- Claims for damages that occurred within 30 days of your policy purchase date
Talk to your local independent insurance agent to learn more about the limitations of a flood insurance policy.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in St. Petersburg, FL?
You can ask an independent insurance agent in St. Petersburg for help when you are shopping for flood insurance. These insurance professionals live and work in your community so they understand the risks you face when it comes to floods and other natural disasters.
Contact an insurance agent near you to learn more about flood insurance as well as any other insurance products that may be beneficial to you.
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