Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state, and can occur anywhere. Just one inch of water in an average-sized home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. An important step toward being prepared includes having proper insurance coverage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) encourage home inspectors to talk with clients about protecting their homes from flood damage by purchasing a flood insurance policy
Your role in the flood protection story begins with your ability to identify deficiencies that are not visible to home or building owners and convey those concerns.
Consulting with your clients about flood insurance—even if it is not required—could inform their decision to protect their properties from flood damage and potential economic devastation
How can you help?
Your clients trust you to help them during the exciting—yet sometimes overwhelming—homebuying process. Being confident and sharing information on ways your clients can protect their investment will build your credibility and ease their minds.
- Between 2015-2019, policyholders outside of high-risk flood areas filed 40% of all NFIP flood insurance claims.
- No home is completely safe from potential flooding. Flood insurance is a great way to protect a significant financial investment.
- Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase until a flood insurance policy goes into effect. Adding flood insurance during the homebuying process ensures there is no waiting period. So, the best time to add flood insurance protection is the day someone buys their home—just like they would when purchasing homeowners’ insurance.
What Homebuyers Should Know
Everyone lives in an area with some flood risk—it is just a question of whether they live in a high-risk, low-risk or moderate-risk flood area. Typically, a community’s flood map will show flood zones and designate the risk for a particular area. Those designated flood zones will contribute to determining mandatory insurance requirements and costs. But it’s just as important to remember that where it can rain, it can flood.
No matter where a buyer may live or work, some risk of flooding exists. Sometimes, your client’s desired property may be in a high-risk flood zone, but it can still be their dream home. With pre-planning, steps can be taken to protect a home from the devastation flooding can bring.
- Know their property’s flood risk. To find their community’s flood map, your clients can visit the Flood Map Service Center and conduct a search using their property’s address.
- Use the NFIP Find a Flood Insurance Provider tool to find participating insurance providers in their state or territory.
- Visit FloodSmart.gov to learn more about flood insurance, flood risk and tips for homeowners.
While there are several things your clients should consider before buying a home, adding flood insurance coverage to the conversation is a great way to offer support during the homebuying process.