Should You Get Flood Insurance?
As climate change brings about ever more severe weather events, including hurricanes of epic proportion that trigger torrential rainfalls and flash flooding, the question of whether to obtain flood insurance has never been more pressing.
As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website points out, floods can happen anywhere and even a mere inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage.
If you’re unsure whether flood insurance makes sense for your living situation, here are some key questions and considerations to help sort out this important decision
Flood Insurance Is the Best Way to Protect Your Home this monsoon season (which can be further impacted by remnants of Pacific hurricanes).
monsoon season starts the beginning of June in Arizona, and it is important that you get your home ready long before deadly storms start brewing. There are many things you can do to prep your home for hurricane season, but there is one step that may be more important than all others.
There are many home maintenance projects you can do that can help protect it from flooding and water damage from hurricanes and storms. But one of the most important ways to protect your home– and financial future– is to get flood or hurricane insurance.
Most normal home insurance does not cover the expensive damage that comes from flooding due to a hurricane. According to FEMA, National Flood Insurance Program policies become effective 30 days after the date of purchase, so homeowners should purchase one in advance to guarantee their home is covered in time.
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But exactly how the new system works and what it means for individual property owners like Forsyth is murky. Even state officials who are experts in the federal flood insurance program are confused.
” It’s a black box,” said Diane Ifkovic, who oversees flood insurance at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and is considered the state’s go-to authority on all things flood insurance.
Despite the lack of clarity, the new system is already eliciting criticism that FEMA has missed an opportunity to overhaul the fundamental paradigm of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that has existed since its inception in 1968– providing money after a flood to put things back roughly where they were before the flood.
With climate change whipping storms into bigger, stronger, wetter, windier and more frequent events, the notion that just changing the premium system will be enough to lower the climate change flood risk to homes near the water on the shoreline and inland has elicited similar comments from multiple experts: It’s a good start, but not enough.
But he said it’s not a matter of just dumping the 53-year-old system. “We need to look at both a set of incremental approaches as well as some bold ideas that are different.”
Rather than rely on the financial incentive of increasing flood insurance premiums to get homeowners to make the kinds of changes that would make their homes more resilient to climate change generally and sea level rise in particular, many say the bolder ideas would be to keep the flooding from happening in the first place as well as finding newer insurance models the would streamline and speed up the claims process when floods do happen.
Some of those bold ideas would be up to Congress to approve. But in recent years, federal lawmakers have reauthorized NFIP only after a couple of failed attempts in 2012 and 2014, when the real estate industry went ballistic, that included steep premium increases. Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation were among many that had initially supported the changes but then sided with the real estate industry.
Reducing the risk of flooding
The real solution may be to prevent or lower the risk of flooding through pre disaster mitigation– steps homeowners and municipalities can take, such as elevating a house or moving a wastewater treatment plant. The Biden administration is already throwing a lot of money at that sort of thing.