Even if your Hattiesburg neighborhood has never seen major flooding before, that doesn’t mean it never will. And in Mississippi, flooding is more common than in many other states in the US. Floods are commonly caused by hurricanes, overtopped levees, river overflows, outdated or clogged drainage systems, and sudden, rapid accumulation of rainfall.
Your homeowners insurance or business insurance does not provide coverage for damage caused by flooding. But you can purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was created by Congress in 1968 to help property owners protect themselves from the financial devastation of floods. Flood insurance from the NFIP is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners, and businesses. A local independent insurance agent can help you learn about your flood risk and purchase the coverage you need to protect your property.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Hattiesburg, 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.
Don’t think you can rely on the government for help, either. 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.
Average Rainfall and Flooding in Hattiesburg, MS
Heavy rain near bodies of water is the number one cause of flooding. Hattiesburg receives more rainfall each year than the national average.
- US average annual rainfall: 38.61 inches
- Hattiesburg average annual rainfall: 61.61 inches
The Leaf River and its tributaries are the main cause of flood risk in Hattiesburg. In addition, some neighborhoods may experience local flooding due to intense rainfall or other events. Historically, major flood events occur every two or three years in Mississippi, with over 15% of the state lying on a floodplain.
Homes and businesses located in Special Flood Hazard Areas are required to purchase flood insurance. In addition, some low- or moderate-risk homeowners in Hattiesburg 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 Hattiesburg, it is important to assess your risk and make an informed decision.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Hattiesburg?
All NFIP flood insurance policies include the same basic fees, with the average policy costing about $700 per year. Homes and businesses located in high-risk flood areas will pay more for coverage than those in low- and moderate-risk areas. Several other factors are considered when determining your flood insurance cost. These include:
- The age, size, and type of home or building construction
- The elevation of the lowest floor of your home or building
- Whether you choose building-only coverage, or building and contents coverage
- The amount of building and contents coverage you need, and your deductibles
Because flood risk is the most important component of flood insurance pricing, properties are placed in designated flood risk zones 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 an affordable Preferred Risk policy from the NFIP.
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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 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 items that are excluded from coverage in your Hattiesburg 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 local insurance agents. An independent insurance agent in Hattiesburg can help you assess your flood risks, and can help you purchase flood insurance that meets your needs. Start the conversation about flood insurance for your Hattiesburg home or business now.
Contact a local independent insurance agent for information and quotes.