If you've bought a house in the Bay area or at the start of hurricane season, you might have spent a lot of time looking at the flood and storm surge maps for your area.
Those can typically help you figure out if you need flood insurance. But now, the man who oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, Roy Wright, says you don't need to look at maps to figure that out. All you need is your driver's license.
If it says Florida, Wright says you should have flood insurance.
Wright made that comment during an interview with the Miami Herald at an insurance conference this week.
He says people spend too much time focusing on where they fall in those flood zones, but Mother Nature doesn't care about those zones. Wright says a majority of the 28,000 claims filed after Irma were in moderate flood zones and not high-risk ones.
Now here's the thing: this is just a recommendation. So we asked a flood insurance expert to explain why it’s needed and how much it will cost those who don’t already have it.
We spoke with Gordon Chernecky with Shield Insurance of Tampa Bay. He says the difference between homes in a flood zone and those not in flood zones is so minimal, why take the chance?
“All it takes is one bad storm and your valuables can be damaged in an instant,” he said.
When comparing the damage a storm can cause to how much flood insurance costs, Chernecky says it’s worth it to get the insurance.
“For $250,000 of coverage, it will cost you about $450 a year. When talking about damage from a storm, if you have 1 foot of water you’re looking at $12-$15,000 in damage. 2 feet of water is $25,000. People don’t realize how inexpensive it is to carry flood insurance,” he said.
Chernecky says those who choose not to get flood insurance are taking a big risk. He says it’s better to be safe than sorry, but the decision is up to you.
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