Oklahoma residents are accustomed to flooding. Whether it is the result of devastating storms such as Hurricane Katrina or the annual deluge of river flow, floods can strike without warning and leave a path of destruction in their wake. Those without flood insurance depend on the protection of FEMA and other government agencies, which aren't always prompt. Nor do they replace what was lost. Only a comprehensive flood insurance policy can do that. Before you search for flood insurance quotes, however, there are several things to consider.
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Is Oklahoma at a Higher Risk of Flooding?
Compared to many states in the union, Oklahoma is at a higher risk for flooding. Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its many rivers and streams make Oklahoma a prime flood zone. Even if a flood has never damaged your home, floods can occur without warning, and in areas they have never affected before.
According to the OK Comprehensive Water Plan, the following counties in Oklahoma are at an even greater risk than their neighboring counties: Blaine, Carter, Custer, Greer (one of the highest risk areas), Harmon, Haskell, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kiowa, Love, McIntosh, Murray, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pawnee, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Texas, Tillman and Washita.
The United States Geological Survey has identified several areas within the Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Enid and Moorewood areas as having the potential for extreme peak discharge of floods in the future as well.
So it seems in Oklahoma, flooding is a risk no matter where you live. Finding the right flood insurance policy could mean the difference between being able to afford to rebuild and finding higher ground.
Your Homeowners Insurance Won't Protect You
Unfortunately, many people do not realize their homeowners insurance does not cover floods until it's too late. Even if the flooding is the result of a hurricane, homeowners insurance policies do not typically cover it.
And while Katrina and others have made a lot of news headlines, the fact remains that the majority of flooding in Oklahoma is due to overflowing rivers and streams.
Don't let a flood wash your dreams of homeownership away. Flood insurance will make sure you stay dry while the whole world seems to be under water.
Is There Help for the Residents of Oklahoma?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), instituted by Congress in 1968, provides flood insurance policies to homeowners, business owners and renters in communities that participate in the program. The flood program, which FEMA administers, works with more than 90 private insurance carriers to provide flood insurance to cover damage that results from flash floods, hurricanes, winter storms or heavy rains. Chances are your Oklahoma community participates in the NFIP, as Oklahoma is at higher risk of flooding than most states.
One great thing about this partnership between government and business is that premiums do not change from company to company; FEMA sets the premiums based on factors like the home's construction, location, flood zone (if any) and other factors. The lower the risk of flood damage, the lower the premium often is.
An important thing to know is that you can buy flood insurance any time; however, there is a 30-day waiting period after paying your first premium before the policy goes into effect. Don’t wait until you get a flood warning before you consider buying flood protection.
What Type of Flood Insurance Is Best?
A standard flood insurance policy can insure up to four residential buildings and single-family dwellings:
For standard dwelling coverage, you have two options:
- Building property coverage: Up to $250,000
- Personal property coverage: Up to $100,000
The NFIP strongly recommends homeowners purchase both coverage options, especially those living in flood-prone areas such as Oklahoma. It's a good idea to speak with your lender, as a mortgage company might also require you to carry a certain amount and type of flood coverage if you live in a flood plain.
These two combined coverage types will cover most things in your home, with some exceptions. For example, your insurer will not reimburse you for damage to most cars and ATVs, any belongings outside the building (including landscaping, septic systems, patios, hot tubs and swimming pools), currency, precious metals or stock certificates.
Do You Have Protection?
If your Oklahoma residence is a multi-story home, the coverage could be more complicated depending on your location in a flood zone and the age of your home. Basements, crawlspaces and walkout basements have limited coverage no matter the age or type of home you have. If your home has any of these items, make sure to ask your insurance agent about how you can protect these items from flood damage. For example, even if you carry both building property and personal property coverage, you may not have any insurance protection for the items you keep in the basement.
Once you find a flood insurance policy, you can choose to buy building property flood insurance at replacement cost value (RCV) or actual cash value (ACV):
- Replacement cost value: This type of coverage will replace your 10-year-old stove with a brand new one.
- Actual cash value: This type of coverage will replace items at the time of the loss, taking into account depreciation. That means the insurance company will only pay the amount needed to purchase a 10-year-old stove for example, not a brand new one.
Flood Insurance Quotes: What's Typical?
A typical flood insurance quote has a number of factors that weigh in to the final rate. If you qualify for the NFIP's Preferred Risk Policy, you could pay as little as $150 a year for coverage. It's important to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent to help determine the types of flood insurance programs you are eligible to buy. Because the vast majority of Oklahoma counties and communities participate in the NFIP, you would most likely get a policy discount. Other factors that determine your flood insurance premium include these:
- The amount and type of coverage you are purchasing.
- Your location within Oklahoma and flood zone.
- The design and age of your structure.
- Homes located in high-risk areas (e.g., Special Flood Hazard Areas, AE zones and VE Zones) built after the NFIP drew the first Flood Insurance Rate Maps for that community. The elevation of the building in relation to the base flood elevation is also a consideration.
Secure Your Home and Finances with Flood Insurance
In Oklahoma, floods aren't a matter of if, but when. Fortunately, there is help for when the waters come. Finding the right flood insurance policy is what the knowledgeable independent insurance agents of the Trusted Choice® network do best.
Contact an independent agent for insurance quotes and coverage so you can start sleeping easy knowing that you have protection for your home and personal property.