The average flood lasts for hours or days. But on Missouri’s rivers, flooding can last for months and cause widespread harm to structures and property. Without flood insurance, it can be difficult to raise the necessary funds to repair or rebuild. Homeowners insurance does not cover the damage caused by natural flooding, nor do renters policies or business insurance. However, you can get affordable quotes for a flood policy to protect your home or business through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the help of an independent agent.
The NFIP is a branch of FEMA established to reduce flood-related risk nationwide and prepare communities for disaster. NFIP authorities use flood zone maps and preventive building standards to help residents and business owners reduce the likelihood of damage.
The NFIP also provides flood policies through private insurance companies to help cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding after a storm. Most Missouri communities participate in the program by enforcing safety standards, such as requiring builders to elevate the lowest floor of a structure above the base water level. However, participation in the NFIP is optional, so coverage may not be available in your neighborhood. A local agent can help you find out whether your community participates.
Other forms of disaster aid from FEMA come in the form of government loans, which you must repay. The NFIP is different because it functions as an insurance policy that pays a specified amount for your covered loss. This enables you to get back to normal living quickly, without the burden of additional debt.
If you live in a special flood hazard area (SFHA), you are required to purchase coverage. Any structure in an SFHA zone is at high risk of flood damage. The coverage may have been bundled with your homeowners or business insurance policy when you purchased the property. If you are unsure, a local agent can help you check.
If you live in a medium- or low-risk area, coverage is still highly recommended. Your home or business is at much higher risk of flood than of fire, tornado or other disaster. It takes only 1 inch of water to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. If you own a business, this can be devastating. Twenty-five percent of businesses that close due to flood damage never reopen.
Renters, homeowners and business owners can all get coverage through the NFIP if your community participates. A flood policy covers damage from mudflows, river or creek overflows, excess rain and snowmelt. The coverage can pay to repair or replace the following, up to a specified limit:
A flood policy cannot cover certain items like gold, cash or stock certificates. It also cannot cover your vehicles. However, if you have comprehensive insurance on your car or truck, your auto policy may provide compensation.
Early cleanup is important because your flood policy will not cover items damaged due to preventable mold or mildew. Debris removal is included in your coverage, but you must be sure to remove any wet drywall and ventilate flooded carpeting before mold has a chance to grow.
Your coverage can be very inexpensive, especially if you live in a low-risk area. Some residents get coverage for as little as $130 per year. The cost can be even lower for renters, who only need to insure the contents of the home. The rates increase as your risk increases, so if you live in a medium- or high-risk area, you can expect to pay more than someone on the other side of town. Also, your risk of flood can change over time. New construction and development sometimes alter the local water run-off patterns, which can cause problems in areas that were previously low-risk.
Flood insurance is important no matter where you live, but it is especially vital in a river-bound state like Missouri. Whether you own or rent your home or place of business, the risk of flood damage is higher than from fire, lightning or tornado, and is part of standard policies. You can get a variety of flood insurance quotes from a local agent in the Trusted Choice® network. Trusted Choice agents are independent agents, so they can search multiple companies for the best NFIP quotes and customize a policy for your home or business.
It takes 30 days for a new policy to become active, so don’t wait until the next storm warning. Contact an agent near you to get the flood coverage you need.