Sometimes referred to as “The Ocean State,” Rhode Island enjoys scenic beaches and miles of inlets and bays. Fishing was one of the original businesses of the area, and thousands of vacationers flock to the northeast each year. Homeowners have the luxury of living the beach life year round, but that also means living with the occasional squall. Much of Rhode Island’s coast is located within the flood plain, and is designated a high flood risk area by FEMA. Homeowners insurance does not protect you from the expense of a flood. If you're looking for flood insurance in Rhode Island, this article can help you understand what to look for.
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- 1 inch of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in property damage.
- Floods are the United States' top natural disaster.
- FEMA risk areas are categorized high, moderate, and low risk.
- 20% of flood claims come from low risk areas.
- Federal disaster assistance is a loan that must be paid back.
The Rhode Island Rainstorm of 2010
In March of 2010, few in Rhode Island were ready for the rain. A stubborn storm system dropped 8.75 inches of rain in East Providence, 7.6 inches in Providence and 5 inches in Cranston, three of Rhode Island’s most populated towns. The Pawtuxet River crested at 20 feet, nearly 12 feet above flood level, while other rivers reached 3-4 feet over flood level. Thousands of residents were without power for days, and this was the worst flooding in recorded history.
Unfortunately, many residents didn’t have flood insurance. In total, the storm caused $1.5 billion in damage to the northeast, and almost 6,000 homes and businesses were affected by the flood.
What Is a Flood Zone?
If you live in a flood zone, or a high risk area, your mortgage company may require that your purchase Rhode Island flood insurance. Many coastal regions are considered to be a high risk area, but some of the areas that were affected in the rainstorm of 2010 were located outside the flood zone. The topography of Rhode Island is very flat, and has been commercially developing land at a fast pace. This can change river runoff patterns, so it's important to keep your policy up to date. Just because you don’t live in a flood zone doesn’t mean that your house is immune to a strong storm.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
Flood insurance is usually inexpensive, especially when compared with the cost of flood damage. A typical policy can cost around $600 per year, and if you’re located in a low risk area, the rates are lower. Keep in mind that 1/5 of all flood claims come from moderate to low risk areas, so purchasing this inexpensive coverage for your low-risk property can pay off.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
In the event of a natural flood, such as a river or creek overflow, excess rain run-off, or hurricane-related storm surge, a flood policy through the NFIP would reimburse you for the following:
- Buildings on the property, such as your house or place of business, detached garages, sheds, and other outbuildings
- Electrical and plumbing apparatus
- Built-in appliances, air conditioners, wall coverings, and floor coverings
- Personal items you keep in the home, like clothing, small appliances, electronics, furniture, and window coverings
Items that are NOT covered include:
- Anything destroyed by avoidable mildew or mold damage
- Cash and stock certificates
- Property kept outside of a building, including decks, pools, trees, and lawn ornaments
- Temporary housing expenses
If you own a basement, flood coverage for that part of your home depends on the type and depth. A local agent can help you find out if your basement is insurable against flood. Since many insurance companies offer flood coverage through the NFIP, some of these coverage options may be flexible. For instance, you may be able to find a flood insurance provider that offers temporary housing coverage, so that you can pay for a hotel while your home is repaired.
How to Find Flood Insurance
The federal government has a website, www.floodsmart.gov, which provides valuable information on the risks of flooding and the importance of insurance. You can purchase Rhode Island flood insurance through the government, but there are other providers that sell this policy in tandem with the NFIP.
It pays to shop around for any insurance product. With the help of a local independent Trusted Choice® agent, you can get Rhode Island flood insurance quotes from several providers, and feel confident about your insurance coverage. Find a Trusted Choice agent today.