Flood Insurance for Texans
When is Flood Insurance Needed?
Flooding is commonly excluded from many homeowners, commercial property and renters’ insurance policies. Although these policies cover most natural disasters: floods, earthquakes and hurricanes (at least from water damage) are typically excluded, due to the severity of claims and rarity for a majority.
Most areas of flooding, naturally occur on the coastlines. Regardless of your view on climate change, flooding has increased in Texas in recent years. Texas has 367 miles of exposed coastline ranking sixth for all U.S. states. For Texas communities such as Corpus Christi, Angleton, Port Arthur, Galveston, Houston, TX and surrounding cities and suburbs, heed a strong recommendation for flood insurance, as hurricane risks are imminent.
Floods are also more likely to occur in drought areas, which has recently caused flash floods in Central Texas and West Texas, recently affecting Lubbock and surrounding areas. It sounds ironic, yet when water scarce areas of the state receive water, it’s often too much at once for the ground to soak up. According to in 2015, there is a greater risk of flash foods if you live in the Austin area, Wichita Falls, Childress, Vernon and Dallas, TX.
Finally, snowmelt is another major contributor to flash floods. Believe it or not, there are many parts of Texas that receive snow. Amarillo and the Northern Texas Panhandle are at the greatest risk.
Flood Protection Coverage
Although flood insurance covers damage from most scenarios of rising water, flood insurance has exclusions and should be paired with a comprehensive homeowners or commercial property policy. Flooding from appliances, such as a toilet overflow or broken sump pump, are typically covered in homeowners and renters policies. Storms that remove a roof, only to allow rainwater to enter the house would also be covered in most homeowners policies. Coverage is also limited for basements and mold causing claims, these typically aren’t covered by flood insurance.
It’s always wise to confirm what types of water damage are covered in your flood insurance policy, as well as homeowners, renters or commercial property policies.
Government vs. Write Your Own vs. Private Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is unique from other types in how it’s sold and purchased. There are three types of flood insurance, two types (WYO and Government) use the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for coverage. The difference is in how the policies are obtained and written, while private is an alternative to coverage through the government.
Government Flood Insurance
Just like health insurance, you can visit a government website to purchase coverage. In this case it’s add your zip code or view the map to see the risk zone of your home, business or rental property. From there, you can purchase directly from the government or a licensed agent.
The government offers insurance for floods through the National Flood Insurance Program. In health insurance, you can receive subsidized healthcare through the government if your income is below a predetermined amount. To receive subsidized flood insurance, you would need to be located in a high-risk flood zone.
The reason for the Federal Government underwriting losses in the first place, is similar to health insurance. It makes it more affordable and allows for better prevention of flood losses by working directly with communities.
Write Your Own Flood Insurance
Although the Federal Government is responsible for underwriting losses, in 1983 they allowed for insurance carriers to resell flood insurance, the same flood insurance provided by the Federal Government. However, there are benefits to going through an insurance company vs. the government for the same policy.
– Superior customer service and expertise of agents that understand flood insurance
– Potential discounts from combining umbrella, flood and homeowners policies from the same carrier
– Free flood maps and risk assessments
For this reason, Hettler Insurance Agency uses the American Bankers Insurance Company, which is a write your own flood insurance company.
Private Flood Insurance
Also like health insurance, there are also options for private flood insurance and there are several benefits to private flood insurance vs. the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
In 2013, drastic hikes to NFIP rates took affect for many policy holders in high risk zones. As of 2014, the NFIP is in debt of $24 Billion, after Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy drained the program. Policy holders did experience premium hikes in the months following these disasters, although last year, President Obama did sign legislation to make government flood insurance more stable.
Higher premiums are often cited as a reason not to get private flood insurance, but in recent years, these premiums are comparable to the federal program, it truly depends on where you are located. As of 2015, there were only a handful of private flood insurance options available to Texans. Lloyd’s of London, one of the largest insurance carriers in the world underwrites flood insurance through The Flood Insurance Agency, a Florida based company.
However, consult with your insurance agent before considering flood insurance through private or government programs. Federally backed mortgages often require NFIP flood insurance, not allowing for private flood insurance policies. In addition, only the federal backed plans include
Talk with Hettler Insurance Agency today: 806-798-7800 or contact us to identify the best combination of coverage, value and price just for you.