This is why you may need flood insurance

Personal Finance

Sean Rayford | Getty Images

People navigate floodwaters caused by Hurricane Florence near the Waccamaw River on September 23, 2018 in Conway, South Carolina. 

Flood-caused property damage generally is covered under a National Flood Insurance Program policy, if the homeowner has one.

The problem is that most people don’t. Only 12 percent of homeowners have a flood insurance policy, according to a 2016 poll from the insurance institute.

Yet, it doesn’t take much water to do substantial damage.

By FEMA estimates, even an inch of water inside a home can generate $26,807 in structural and possession losses for an “average” one-story property of 2,500 square feet.

Aid from FEMA and other sources typically isn’t enough to cover that, either. FEMA data provided to The Advocate in 2016 estimated the average grant payout provided to homeowners after Superstorm Sandy was $8,016; for Hurricane Katrina, $7,114.

You can buy coverage through the NFIP or a private insurer, depending on where you live.

“It’s really meant for people who live in an area that’s in danger of flooding,” Hargraves said. But that’s not restricted to coastal communities.

“If a storm stalls inland, it will overflow creeks and rivers,” he added. “You don’t have to be on the coast to worry about a tidal surge.”

“Even if you live 100 miles inland,” Hargraves said, “check with your agent to see what’s available and what deductible you can afford.”

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