Louisiana residents know all too well the risks of flooding. After all, most of the state is below sea level, and at or near the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, but it wasn't the first storm to cause major damage. Whether in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or Lake Charles, close proximity to so much water, plus the probability of severe weather, means that flooding is an ever-present risk for most state residents. Homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Only Louisiana flood insurance takes care of damage caused by rising waters.
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Louisiana Flooding Facts
- Louisiana encompasses 52,000 square miles, but 8,300 of those are water.
- The state is prone to two major types of flooding: river flooding, often from the Mississippi River, and hurricane flooding, including storm surge from the Gulf.
- Hurricane Katrina flooded 44,000 New Orleans homes so badly that they were uninhabitable, and 74% of the city's homeowners reported damage to their homes.
Louisiana flood insurance should perhaps be as important and necessary as coverage for your assets as your home or auto policies, simply because floods happen often in low-lying areas, like the mouth of the Mississippi or along Lake Ponchartrain. Flood insurance can cover your home, property, and vehicle against rising flood waters from a severe storm, and/or waterways overflowing their banks.
Do I Need Louisiana Flood Insurance?
The question of natural flooding is more of a 'when' than an 'if', and homeowners insurance does not offer coverage for the damage caused by flood. That is why the federal government set up the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA disaster payouts come in the form of a loan, which must be repaid. But with flood insurance through the NFIP, citizens can pay a little money each year into a flood insurance program, rather than suffering calamity and being burdened with subsequent debt.
If you live in a high-risk flood zone, you may be required to purchase flood insurance along with your homeowners insurance. Even if you bought a home outside of high-risk areas, flood zones can change, due to aging levees and the environmental effects of new housing developments. A local agent can help you find out about your home's position on the current flood maps, and what type of flood insurance is available to your neighborhood.
Homes located outside of the high-risk flood zone are not immune to flooding. They simply do not flood as often. These homes also need flood coverage, because a significant rainfall or storm surge can be just as devastating as a river delta flood, and can impact houses miles from the special hazard zone. It only takes one inch of water to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home and possessions. Flood insurance can cover the following, saving you from debt and crippling repair costs:
- Repair or replacement of structures on your property, including your house, garage, and sheds
- Personal property like clothing, furniture, appliances, and electronics
- Temporary housing costs
If you rent your home, you can still benefit from flood coverage for your cars and personal property, plus temporary housing coverage to help take care of costs while your rental home is repaired.
Louisiana Flood Insurance Costs
Flood insurance is not as expensive as you may think, since it is underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program, through FEMA. Your individual costs will depend on the value of your home and possessions, and more importantly, on your location. If your area is not a high-risk zone, you could be eligible for a Preferred Risk Policy, and reduced rates. If you live in New Orleans, or another area affected by a major flood in the past decade, your rates may be higher, and coverage may be mandatory. Even in high-risk zones, however, flood insurance is usually a fraction of your total homeowners coverage costs. Only a local agent can give you an accurate estimate of flood insurance premiums for your home.
How to Get Flood Insurance
Louisiana flood insurance is not something to put off until later. Coverage starts thirty days after activation, so don't wait until the next hurricane warning to get covered. A member agent in our insurance network can help you find the right flood insurance policy for your home.
Contact a local agent in your area to start comparing Louisiana flood insurance quotes, so you can be ready.