The protection you need may cost less than you think—and if you experience a loss, you’ll find the coverage is priceless.

    Flooded living room

    People often underestimate the risk of flooding, even though 25-30 percent of all flood insurance claims are paid on homes in low to moderate risk flood zones. The problem is, people often don’t realize that damage to your home caused by flood water is not covered by a standard home insurance policy.

    Here are some things to consider:

    Clarification of coverage. If you found the earlier information enlightening, likely you’re next thought is, “I know my policy covers some kind of water damage, what’s the difference?” A standard home policy usually covers storm damage such as hail, fire or lightening, sleet, ice, and snow. Most insurance will also cover water damage caused by plumbing, household appliances, or an emergency sprinkler system. In other words, if your roof relocates to the attic after a hail storm or your washer decides to imitate Buckingham fountain, you’re probably protected with a standard home policy. If your living room gets a bath in run-off water from a nearby drainage ditch, however, you’re going to wish you had flood insurance.

    The devastating effects of floods. Recovering personal belongings after a flood is often impossible. Not only has your home been exposed to unfiltered ground water but also any contaminating elements picked up along the way such as hazardous chemicals and even sewage. Flood victims often have to start from scratch, which can be a huge financial burden if paid entirely out of pocket.

    Cost varies based on coverage and flood risk. All flood insurance is underwritten and rates set by the NFIP. Homeowners can buy as little as $20,000 building coverage and $8,000 content coverage for $112 per year. Higher coverage up to a maximum of $250,000 building coverage with $100,000 content coverage is available. Renters can buy $8,000 content coverage for as little as $39 per year with content coverage up to $100,000 available.

    Don’t wait for weather. In most cases, flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period. If the forecaster says heavy rain is coming this week, it’s too late to buy flood insurance.

    For questions about flood insurance, contact a AAA Insurance agent.