Maryland is no stranger to flooding rivers and torrential downpours that send floodwaters into streets, basements, and businesses. Some Maryland residents realize it's not a matter of "if" but "when" a flood can damage their home. Unfortunately, too many of the state's homeowners forgo flood insurance protection. Before you search for flood insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to consider.
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What are the Flood Risks in Maryland?
According to the National Flood Insurance Program:
- Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the U.S.
- During previous years, the average flood claim amounted to nearly $42,000.
- During previous years, total flood insurance claims averaged nearly $4 billion per year.
- People outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file nearly 25 percent of all NFIP flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding.
- The NFIP paid more than $7.7 billion in flood insurance claims to all policyholders in recent years.
- More than 1,200 flood insurance claims were filed during previous years in Maryland.
- The NFIP paid more than $20 million in flood damage claims to Maryland residents in recent years.
What is the National Flood Insurance Program?
Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Due to this gap in coverage, the U.S. government stepped in to provide home and business owners with some level of protection from floods. In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program to help provide financial protection for property owners. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP.
Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Fortunately for MD residents, most municipalities within the state have agreed to partner with the NFIP.
Am I Required to Carry Flood Insurance?
If you live within one of the NFIP's mapped flood zones, there are some circumstances where you will be required to carry flood insurance, including:
- If you have a federally-backed mortgage such as an HUD or VA loan
- Some lenders will require you to carry flood insurance, regardless of who has underwritten your loan.
Be sure to check with your financial institution to determine whether or not you are required to carry flood insurance on your home or business. Even if it is not required, it is recommended that you purchase flood insurance to protect your home and finances when flooding occurs.
What are My Flood Insurance Options?
The partnership between MD insurance providers and the NFIP makes several kinds of flood insurance coverage available. You will be able to choose from the following options:
- General property policy: can be used to cover five or more family residential buildings and nonresidential buildings
- Residential condominium building association policy: to insure condominiums and townhomes
- Standard flood insurance policy - dwelling: This is the most common form of coverage, and is used to insure up to four-family residential buildings and single-family dwelling units in a condo/townhouse building
For standard dwelling coverage, you have two options:
- Building property coverage - up to $250,000
- Personal property coverage - up to $100,000
The NFIP strongly recommends that homeowners purchase both coverage options. Also, remember that your mortgage company may also require you to carry a certain amount and type of flood coverage.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, Building coverage includes:
- The insured building and its foundation
- The electrical and plumbing system
- Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
- Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
Contents coverage includes:
- Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- Portable and window air conditioners
- Portable microwaves and dishwashers
- Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
- Clothing washers and dryers
The two most common reimbursement methods for flood claims are Replacement Cost Value and Actual Cash Value. ACV takes depreciation into account, whereas RCV is the cost to replace damaged property. Unlike other types of content coverage, however, flood insurance only reimburses policyholders up to 80 percent of the building's replacement cost.
What Will My Flood Insurance Quote Look Like?
Thanks to the partnership between the NFIP and the 90 participating private insurance companies, the quotes you receive from various Maryland insurance providers should not vary. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. The quotes you receive will depend on many factors, including:
- The age of your home
- The type of construction of your home
- The level of flood risk in your area
Flood insurance quotes can be as low as $150 per year for some parts of Maryland, while others will see higher quotes to reflect the level of risk or the home's construction materials.
Where Can I Find Flood Insurance?
The last thing you want to worry about as you lead your family to safety following a severe flood is how you're going to pay for the damages and replacement of your belongings. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in our network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options, and even assist you in filing a claim. These agents have years of experience working with Maryland insurance companies and the NFIP, ensuring you will have a qualified agent working for you to secure the best coverage options at the most affordable rates.
Contact an agent near you to find out how you can obtain the protection of a flood insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.