Biloxi, Mississippi is highly vulnerable to flooding. From frequent heavy rains to hurricanes, overtopped levees, and outdated or clogged drainage systems, flash floods, and historic flooding are all-too-common occurrences along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. Flooding can be an emotionally and financially devastating event. Without flood insurance, most residents have to pay out-of-pocket or take out loans to repair and replace damaged items.
With flood insurance, you're able to recover faster and more fully. But your standard property insurance (homeowners insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance or business insurance) does not cover damage caused by flooding. Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 to help provide a way for property owners to financially protect themselves from flood damage. Flood insurance from the NFIP is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners, and business owners. It can be purchased through a local independent insurance agent.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Biloxi, MS?
Much of Biloxi is considered to be a high-risk flood area. If you live in a designated Special Flood Hazard area and you have a federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender will require you to have flood insurance. Even if you don’t live on a flood plain, here are some reasons why flood insurance is important for most home and business owners.
- Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.
- People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of the disaster assistance allotted for flood-related disasters.
- Homeowners insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance, and business insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
- Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
- New land development can increase flood risk if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
- Federal disaster aid is only available if the president declares a disaster. Federal disaster relief in the form of a US Small Business Administration loan must be paid back with interest. FEMA disaster grants—which do not have to be paid back—are only about $5,000 per household, on average.
- If you live near a levee, do not assume it will protect you. Levee failure is one of the major causes of flooding.
Homes and businesses are also at risk of flooding caused by slow leaks, burst water mains, snowmelt, and even mudflow. Most Biloxi residents should at least consider purchasing flood insurance.
Average Rainfall and Flooding in Biloxi, MS
Heavy rain near bodies of water is the number one cause of flooding. Biloxi receives more rainfall each year than the national average.
- US average annual rainfall: 38.61 inches
- Biloxi average annual rainfall: 64.89 inches
Flooding can occur with very little warning and can cause a tremendous amount of property damage, injuries, and even death. Mississippi has the 5th largest floodplain in the United States, and low-lying areas are particularly susceptible to flooding. After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA reissued flood maps with an enlarged flood zone for Biloxi. Homeowners who live Special Flood Hazard Areas are required to purchase flood insurance. In addition, those who live in low- to moderate-risk areas might also be required by their lenders to have flood insurance, but not always.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Biloxi?
All NFIP flood insurance policies include the same basic cost structure and fees, and the average policy costs about $700 per year. The most important factor in the cost of Biloxi flood insurance is the flood risk for your property. Homeowners and business owners in high-risk areas will pay more than average for flood insurance. In addition to the flood risk for your property, here are some additional factors that determine your Biloxi flood insurance premium:
- Age, size, and type of home construction
- Elevation of the lowest floor of your home
- Deductibles and amount of building and contents coverage
If you live in a low- to moderate-risk area, you may qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk policy from the NFIP. The annual premium for a Preferred Risk flood insurance policy is likely to be far less than the cost of making repairs on your own or paying back a federal disaster loan.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance covers physical damage to your property and possessions. Building and contents coverage are purchased separately (Preferred Risk policies offer an option for combination coverage) and have separate deductibles. NFIP building coverage pays for damage to the physical structure and its foundation, as well as electrical and plumbing systems, central air conditioning, furnaces, and water heaters. Building coverage also pays for items like appliances, installed carpeting, wallboard, built-in bookcases and cabinets, and more.
NFIP contents coverage pays for damage to your personal or business property such as clothing, furniture, electronics, curtains, portable appliances, and more. Coverage for basements and areas below the lowest elevated floor is limited. Flood insurance only pays for damage due to certain causes of flooding. Damage caused by a sewer backup, for example, is only covered by flood insurance if it is a direct result of flooding. If the backup is caused by some other problem, the damage is not covered by your Mississippi flood insurance policy.
What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance policies have some very specific coverage exclusions that you need to be aware of. These include:
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner or which are not caused by the flood
- Temporary living expenses, such as hotel expenses, while the building is being repaired or is uninhabitable
- Loss of income caused by business interruption
- Property and belongings outside of the home or business, such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent?
While flood insurance is only available from the National Flood Insurance Program, it is sold through licensed insurance agents. An independent insurance agent can help you assess your flood risk, and can help you purchase flood insurance that meets your needs.
Contact an independent insurance agent in Biloxi for information and quotes.
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