No matter where you live in Massachusetts, there is a chance of flooding. Homeowners insurance does not cover damage due to flooding. Here is some information to help you understand your risk level and the importance of flood insurance.
Flood Risk Levels
Floods can be caused by problems like clogged drains or ice jams as well as natural causes like extremely heavy rain, tropical storms or rapid snow melt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed flood maps that specify risk levels based on criteria such as their flood history, climate and topography. An area can be high risk, moderate-to-low risk or undetermined risk. Being in a low risk area of MA does not mean that you should not get flood insurance as some low risk areas have been hit hard by inclement weather and flooding in the last 5-10 years, the most recent being Hurricane Sandy.
Importance of Flood Insurance
Basic homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program provides maps of flood insurance rates and also offers a flood risk profile to help you determine your property’s risk level. Since high-risk areas have a 1 in 4 chance of flood over the life of a 30-year mortgage, if you live in a high-risk area and have a federally regulated mortgage, you are required to carry flood insurance in addition to your basic homeowners insurance. Flood insurance is not required for other areas. Since 1/3 of disaster assistance goes to people living in moderate-to-low risk flood zones, it is a good idea to purchase some level of coverage. Zones that are considered undetermined risk are often low population areas that have not been assessed. If you live in an undetermined risk zone, speaking with an independent insurance agent for further information.
Floods can happen anywhere, even far from the coast. Your risk of flood depends on where you live within the state. The financial impact of a flood without the aid of flood insurance can be detrimental to you and your family. Referring to flood insurance rate maps and talking to an independent insurance agent can help you determine the need and importance of flood insurance for your specific property.