Gulfport, like most of the state of Mississippi, is highly vulnerable to flooding. Frequent heavy rains can cause historic flooding along the Mississippi River and the state’s coastal region. What’s more, monster storms like Hurricane Katrina have devastated Gulfport and much of the state on more than one occasion. In addition to problems caused by Mother Nature, many Mississippi residents believe that land clearing for development and a century of misguided land and water management have actually increased the flood risk that already existed along the Mississippi River.
If you live or own a business in Gulfport, your standard property insurance (homeowners insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance or business insurance) does not cover damage caused by flooding. You need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy in order to have financial protection from flood damage. Flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program created by Congress in 1968 to help homeowners protect themselves from the financial devastation of floods. Gulfport homeowners, renters, condo owners, and business owners can buy NFIP flood insurance from their local independent insurance agent.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Gulfport, MS?
Flooding is one of the most financially and emotionally devastating events that can happen to a homeowner or business owner. According to FEMA, just one inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. If your home or business were flooded, how would you make repairs, rebuild, and replace your damaged or destroyed possessions? Without flood insurance, you’d probably have to pay out-of-pocket or take out a loan.
Even in cases of severe, widespread flooding, a presidential disaster declaration may not provide the financial resources you need to completely rebuild. 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.
Average Rainfall and Flooding in Gulfport, MS
Heavy rain near bodies of water is the number one cause of flooding. Gulfport receives more rainfall each year than the national average.
- US average annual rainfall: 38.61 inches
- Gulfport average annual rainfall: 65.19 inches
Gulfport is susceptible to major flooding. The city suffered major damage to property and infrastructure from Hurricane Katrina. And hurricanes aren’t the only cause of local flooding. It can occur as a result of severe storms or a steady increase in river levels from upstream runoff. Certain areas in Gulfport are designated by FEMA as designated flood plains, or Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Homeowners who live in Special Flood Hazard Areas are required to purchase flood insurance. In addition, some homeowners in Gulfport are required by their mortgage lenders to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is optional for all other homeowners, but in a flood-prone city like Gulfport, going without it is a huge risk.
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How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Gulfport?
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance rates do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. All policies include the same basic fees, and the average policy costs about $700 per year. What you pay for flood insurance in Gulfport will vary based on several factors, including:
- Age, size, and type of home construction
- Flood risk for your home’s location
- Elevation of the lowest floor of your home
- Deductible and amount of building and contents coverage
The flood risk for your Mississippi home is the biggest factor impacting how much your flood insurance policy will cost. Flood risk areas are designated as follows:
Low-risk flood areas: Zones X, B, and C
- 26% of flood claims occur in these zones
- Flood insurance is not mandatory
- Flood insurance is less expensive
high-risk flood areas: Zones A and V
- 74% of flood claims occur in these zones
- Flood insurance is mandatory
- Flood insurance is more expensive
If you live in a low- to moderate-risk area, you may qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk policy from the NFIP.
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.
Building coverage pays for damage to:
- The building and its foundation
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
- Refrigerators, stoves, and built-in appliances
- Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
- Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
- Window blinds
- Detached garages
- Debris removal
Contents coverage pays for damage to your belongings:
- Clothing, furniture, and electronics
- Portable and window air conditioners
- Portable appliances, e.g., microwave ovens and dishwashers
- Carpets that are not included in the building coverage
- Clothes washers and dryers
- Food freezers and the food in them
- Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs, up to $2,500
Coverage for basements and areas below the lowest elevated floor is limited. Remember that the cause of the flooding determines whether your flood insurance policy provides coverage. 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 don’t cover everything. It’s important to understand the coverage exclusions to make sure you are fully prepared. Here are just a few examples of items excluded from coverage in your Gulfport flood insurance policy:
- 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?
The NFIP is administered by the federal government, but flood insurance is sold through licensed insurance agents in Gulfport. An independent insurance agent can help you assess your flood risk, and can help you purchase flood insurance that meets your needs. Start the conversation about flood insurance for your Gulfport home now.
Contact a local independent insurance agent for information and quotes.
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