- Floods are the nation’s top natural disaster, according to FEMA.
- Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
- To buy flood coverage, your community must participate in the NFIP.
How to assess your need for flood insurance
When torrential rains and massive snowmelt swelled North Dakota’s Souris River to 100-year flood levels in June, displacing more than 10,000 residents of Minot, Farmers Insurance agent James Bierschbach’s phone began to ring.
“Those houses had been in the high-risk flood zone A back during our last big flood in 1969,” he says. “But in the early ’80s, they were rerated to zone X, the 100-year flood level, after some dikes were put in.”
As a result, homeowners in the flooded area who had long ago dropped flood coverage or weren’t ever required to purchase it were stuck with steep financial losses because most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.
Not all of Bierschbach’s callers were reconsidering flood insurance, however. Some were now buying flood coverage because they had to do so.