For North Dakota residents, it's almost as though packing sand bags is part of the college student's rite of passage. But one doesn't have to live in the Red River Valley to encounter floodwaters. In the flat, open spaces of North Dakota, it's not a matter of whether a flood will affect your home or property but when. Before you search for flood insurance, however, there are several factors to consider.
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North Dakota Flood Facts and Statistics
These are facts and statistics, according to the National Flood Insurance Program:
- Fargo, Grand Forks and the areas surrounding the Red River Valley, Devil's Lake and other large bodies of water experience the most flooding in North Dakota.
- The average flood insurance claim in recent years is $35,000.
- The Red River flooded more than 2,200 square miles in North Dakota and Minnesota, an area approximately twice the size of Rhode Island, during the great floods of 1997 and 2009.
What Is the NFIP?
Since standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, it's important to have protection from the floods associated with spring snowmelt, heavy rains and rising river waters that affect many ND residents.
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program to help provide a means for property owners to protect themselves financially. 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 FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.
Fortunately, most ND counties and cities participate in the NFIP, making flood insurance policies available in your area.
Who Is Required To Carry Flood Insurance?
If you live in the Red River Valley or any other location that has a high to moderate risk of flooding, your lender may require you to carry flood insurance. Also, if you secured your mortgage through a VA or FHA loan, your lender may require you to carry flood insurance, even if your risks are relatively low. Always check with your lender or financial institution to find out what types of insurance policies they mandate for your location.
Even if not required, flood insurance is an important protection to have, as more than 25 percent of all flood damage claims occur in areas outside of the moderate to high-risk locations.
Will FEMA Help You Rebuild After a Flood?
If you have ever lived near or in an area declared a federal disaster zone, you have heard the stories of home and business owners trying to get assistance from FEMA.
Not only can it take weeks or even months for Congress to declare an incident a federal disaster, but also most of the assistance made available to home and business owners is in the form of low-interest loans. These programs are vital for those struck by flooding disasters. But relying only on this protection can be a very slow, frustrating recovery process.
You can repair or rebuild much more quickly by having flood insurance rather than by waiting for government assistance.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
The NFIP offers the following coverage limits for standard flood insurance policies:
- One to four-family structure: $250,000
- One to four-family home contents: $100,000
- Other residential structures: $250,000
- Other residential contents: $100,000
- Business structure: $500,000
- Business contents: $500,000
- Renter contents: $100,000
These are the highest limits. You can choose lower coverage if, for example, your home or business is valued at less than $250,000. You can opt to purchase just structure coverage, just contents coverage or both, but the NFIP strongly recommends homeowners purchase both coverage options.
These two combined coverage types will cover most things in your home, with some exceptions. For example, you will not get reimbursement for damage to most cars and ATVs, any belongings outside of the building (including landscaping, septic systems, patios, hot tubs and swimming pools), currency, precious metals or stock certificates.
For contents coverage, you will choose between actual cash value reimbursement and replacement cost value reimbursement.
- Actual cash value: This type of reimbursement takes depreciation into account. For example, if a flood destroys your 10-year-old stove, your insurance company will compensate you the cost it takes to purchase a used, 10-year-old stove.
- Replacement cost value: This type of reimbursement ignores depreciation. In the same example, your insurance company would compensate for the cost to purchase a brand new stove with comparable features.
What Will Your Flood Insurance Quotes Look Like?
One of the beneficial aspects of the NFIP is that it regulates the insurance rates its private partners can charge for flood insurance. This helps keep rates affordable for policyholders in flood affected-areas. However, coverage can vary from company to company, so it's a good idea to shop around to find the best policy.
North Dakota insurance providers take several factors into consideration when they calculate your flood insurance premium quotes, including the following:
- The amount and type of coverage you need
- Your location and flood zone
- The design and age of your structure
- For homes in high-risk areas (e.g., Special Flood Hazard Areas or AE, VE Zones) built after FEMA drew the first Flood Insurance Rate Maps for that community, the elevation of the building in relation to the base flood elevation
Your quotes will be higher if you choose replacement cost value coverage rather than actual cash value coverage, but you may find the added layer of protection worth the slightly increased premium rates.
You also may be eligible for discounts on your flood insurance, depending on the types of actions you take to mitigate your risks. Ask your insurance agent for any discounts applicable to your quotes.
Where To Find Flood Insurance
As flooding appears to become more commonplace in North Dakota, it's important to protect your home or business with an insurance policy that can help you recover quickly. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options and even assist you in filing a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice member agent near you to find out how you can obtain the perfect flood insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.