With all of the storms that have wreaked havoc on the North Texas area recently, local residents aren’t exactly singing in the rain.
The abnormal amount of precipitation has been somewhat of a relief by cooling what would usually be a 100-degree plus July day into the mid-80s, but, unfortunately, more bad than good has come with the mild-tempered summer.
More than a few North Texans have fallen victim to flooding during the past few weeks and most of those are not flood insurance owners. Less than 10 percent of people who are eligible for flood insurance actually have it and many people are now wishing they did.
“The most common misconception is if the mortgage company doesn’t require you to buy flood insurance then you don’t need it,” said David VanDelinder, executive director of Independent Insurance Agents of Texas. “But mortgage companies only make you buy insurance if you are in an area that they believe can be flooded sometime within the next 100 years. However, 30 percent of our claims have come outside those areas.”
VanDelinder believes it is vital for homeowners to have flood insurance and, with some insurance costing as little as $120 per year, it is worth every penny, he said.
In the last 25 years, about 1,163,088 Texans with flood insurance have received more than $27.7 billion in loss payments. Last year alone, the National Flood Insurance Program compensated 149,711 state homeowners and renters a total of $13.1 million.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Tony Russell, a federal coordinating officer who helps oversee disaster recovery efforts. “But the most convincing case anyone can make for purchasing NFIP insurance is the increased peace of mind of knowing that you’ve protected your most valuable asset or personal property.”
Homeowners can buy policies that offer up to $250,000 in coverage for their house and $100,000 for contents coverage while non-residential building owners can get up to $500,000 in coverage for the building and $500,000 for the contents.
“The policy covers any type of water whether it is flow-off water or overflow from a river or a lake,” VanDelinder said. “Every agent can sell flood insurance, but not all do.”
VanDelinder cautions those purchasing flood insurance to understand there will be a 30-day waiting period before it goes into effect.
“There is a waiting period on flood insurance that most people don’t understand,” VanDelinder said. “That’s obviously to keep people from buying insurance when their basement is underwater.”
For general flood insurance questions, call (800) 427-4661 or contact a local insurance company or agent.