With its many rivers and streams and its close proximity to Lakes Michigan and Superior, Wisconsin has a high risk of flooding. This is particularly true in the spring, when the winter’s heavy snows begin to melt and cannot be absorbed by the still-frozen ground, and in the summer, when heavy rainfall on already saturated ground leads to flash-flooding. Flood damage can be very expensive. Fortunately, residents of this state are able to protect themselves from financial devastation through the purchase of a Wisconsin flood insurance policy.
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Wisconsin Flood Facts
- Between 2001 and 2011, Wisconsin floods led to eight federally declared disasters
- In June 2008, the state experienced severe flooding in 30 WI counties that required more than $93 million in federal aid
- The summer of 2010 had the highest levels of precipitation on record
- In July of 2010 Wisconsin residents filed almost $28 million in flood insurance claims
- The Great Midwest Floods in 1993 caused approximately $904 million in damages in Wisconsin alone
Why Purchase Wisconsin Flood Insurance?
Many property owners discover too late that homeowners and business insurance policies do not provide coverage for losses caused by flood damage. Only a flood insurance policy issued through the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, can cover you against losses caused by these overflow events. Those who live in designated high-risk flood zones are often required by their mortgage lenders to carry flood insurance, but for those outside these zones, it is optional.
Flooding can occur anywhere, however, so it is important to be protected. Many people believe that, if their home is in a location that has been declared a federal disaster area, FEMA will provide them with the funds necessary to repair or replace damaged property. However, this funding is not the same as flood insurance. Rather, it comes in the form of low-interest loans that must be repaid to the government.
What Is NFIP-Backed Flood Insurance?
Homeowners insurance companies are unable to handle the heavy costs associated with providing compensation for flood damage, so they exclude this coverage from their policies. For this reason, the NFIP was created by the federal government in 1968 to protect property owners from the overwhelming financial hardships flood damage can bring to a community. You cannot be turned down for a flood insurance policy because you live in a high-risk area, nor will your rates increase because you have filed a claim.
The monthly price of a policy is usually considerably lower than payments on a FEMA-provided low-interest loan would be; and securing this coverage is a great way for homeowners and renters to safeguard their personal property. Policies take 30 days to go into effect after you purchase them, so do not wait until flooding is imminent to secure your Wisconsin flood insurance policy.
WI Flood Insurance Facts as Reported by FEMA
- There are currently about 16,500 flood insurance policies in effect in this state
- Of these, approximately 10,000 are for properties in high-risk areas
- Fewer than 1% of the residents in this state are covered by flood insurance
- Residents in this state filed 109 flood insurance claims in 2012
- These claims totaled approximately $702,000
- That equates to an average of about $6,440 per claim
Flood Damage in Wisconsin Can Be Extremely Expensive
According to FEMA's estimates, as little as 2 inches of flood-water in a 1,000 square foot home will cause an average of $10,000 in damages. A flooded basement can result in structural damage to your home and the need to replace appliances such as your furnace, hot water heater and air-conditioning unit.
If the flood waters rise to above-ground floors, the damages become far more expensive because electronics, flooring and personal belongings are often damaged beyond repair and must therefore be replaced. FEMA reports that the average paid flood insurance claim in the United States is about $35,000.
What Does Wisconsin Flood Insurance Cover?
NFIP-provided flood insurance offers two types of coverage, one for the structure of your home and one for the contents kept within. You can opt to purchase either one or both, depending on your coverage needs. Most homeowners choose to purchase both, while renters need only purchase contents coverage.
- Building coverage: This will compensate you for damages to the structure of your home, including its foundation. This includes coverage for damage to the plumbing and electrical systems, built-in appliances, furnaces, central air-conditioning units, and permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors.
- Contents coverage: This will compensate you for loss or damage to property in your home including clothing, furniture, artwork, window-treatments, electronics, window air-conditioners, portable appliances, carpeting and flooring. Flood insurance will not cover contents kept in a finished basement.
How to Obtain a Wisconsin Flood Insurance Policy
Though flood insurance is provided by the federal government, it must be obtained through a qualified insurance provider. Securing a flood insurance policy for your home is easy with the help of a Trusted Choice® network agent. Your agent can help you determine how much coverage you need and can provide you with information about how much you can expect to pay for different coverage amounts.
Your local Trusted Choice member agent can do more than merely help you secure an NFIP-backed flood insurance policy. Agents are available to assist you with all your insurance-related needs and can even advocate for you during the claims process if you need assistance. Find an agent in your neighborhood today to get more information and to start reviewing Wisconsin flood insurance quotes.