Hurricanes can cause cost cities and states billions of dollars, and homeowners can lose their entire real estate investment. With these storms expected to get stronger as time goes on, it's become more important than ever to get insurance coverage. While regular property insurance will usually cover the damage that comes from hurricane winds, flooding is considered a separate issue. Homes in Florida, as seen with Hurricane Irma, are particularly vulnerable to rising waters from storm surges.
Many different flood insurance policies are available that cover everything from loss of personal items in the home to heavy structural damage. Premiums for this coverage vary greatly depending on the location of the property and a variety of variables that insurance actuaries use in their calculations. On average, flood insurance costs about $575 per year.
Homeowners should carefully review their current insurance coverage to find out if they are adequately protected. Waiting can be very risky as many insurance companies will stop selling policies when a storm is named. In some cases, the federal government will provide disaster relief in areas where a state of emergency is declared. For homeowners who have a government-backed mortgage and live in a designated storm zone, obtaining flood insurance is mandatory.
After Hurricane Irma damaged huge swaths of Florida, homeowner insurance claims on flood and property policies spiked. According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, more than 800,000 claims were filed with only 490,000 being paid as of June 2018. Homeowners who have difficulty getting paid for their claim may benefit from representation from an attorney. Claim denials are not always fair and can be legally contested.