Flood insurance is one of those things people talk about it with some hesitation. There seems to be certain bias in our culture to regard flood insurance as a frivolous waste, as floods never seem to happen to you. Floods do happen regularly, and not just in high-risk areas. Any place that is subject to rain and storms can and will flood. We as a society have seen how devastating floods can be. Think back to any number of examples, like Hurricane Katrina or the Maine Flood of 1987 and think for a minute about how quickly your home could be washed away. Floods are often brushed from our minds, but they are very serious events.
Floods are often thought of as a uniform entity that only occurs under a specific set of circumstances. However, there are different types of floods that can happen under any number of circumstances. Overbank flooding is what we typically think of when it comes to floods, where a river, or any body of water, exceeds its banks and spills into the surrounding area. Flash flooding is perhaps the most dangerous type of flood, occurring with little to no warning and moving very quickly, washing away anything in its path. Ice jam flooding is a somewhat rarer, but dangerous, type of flood, and occurs when ice has formed a dam – causing flooding behind it. Eventually, when the ice melts, the flood waters move quickly downstream in a manner similar to flash floods. Coastal flooding occurs next to the oceans, and entails high waves and heavy winds. There are also manmade floods, where dams or levees fail or are destroyed. All of these types of floods can be dangerous and destructive.
Most of these types of flooding can be caused by a single hurricane. Hurricanes cause coastal flooding when they come ashore, and then the heavy rains lead to flash floods soon after. The lingering storms cause overbank floods, and the combination of all of the caused damages can compromise the integrity of dams and levees – leading to man-made failures and more flooding.
You might think that hurricanes are a rarity, an abnormality that can be safely ignored. But, hurricanes are more common than you might expect – even places that aren’t normally associated with them. In Maine, for example, there were seven very destructive hurricanes over the 20th century and a score of smaller, but still damaging, ones. Maine isn’t exactly thought of as a hurricane hotspot, and yet the storms still happen with some regularity and a great deal of destructive force. Hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Roughly 97 percent of all hurricanes occur within that time frame.
Getting flood insurance is a good idea, but what does it entail? While every plan will be different, depending on where you live and what your house is worth, you can expect there to be several key aspects to any plan. Homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance are two different things, and homeowner plans do not protect against floods. So, if you have homeowner’s insurance and you thought you were protected, it is more than likely that you aren’t and should take steps to fix that as soon as possible.
There is almost always a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance takes effect. Waiting until the last minute when a large storm or hurricane is bearing down on you won’t work, you have to plan ahead. Make sure the policy you get covers everything that you need. Some policies will only cover a certain amount of your home contents, or might leave out your deck or patio, so make sure to include everything that needs protecting. If you need to cover your business as well as your home, you will need to get a separate policy covering your business.
It’s difficult to be prepared for a hurricane and floods, but knowing that you are at risk and looking to protect yourself and your assets is a good place to start. Realizing that floods can occur at any time and knowing that you will have to act if you want to maintain and protect your home is an important step in making the right choice to get flood insurance.
For more information or to get a quote from our friendly and knowledgeable staff, contact Maine Agency today!