Frequently Asked Questions
What causes flooding?
Fast-melting snow, severe storms and hurricanes, overtopped levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall are some common causes of flooding.
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk, moderate-to-low risk and undetermined-risk areas. Here are the definitions for each:
High-Risk Areas (Special Flood Hazard Area or SFHA)
In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. All home and business owners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance. They are shown on the flood maps as zones labeled with the letters A or V.
Moderate to Low-Risk Areas
In moderate-to-low risk areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced but not completely removed. These areas submit over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. Flood insurance isn’t federally required in moderate-to-low areas, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters. They are shown on flood maps as zones labeled with the letters B, C or X (or a shaded X).
What are the biggest Flood threats in the Western U.S.?
Wildfires have dramatically changed the landscape and ground conditions on the West Coast, causing fire-scorched land to develop in to mudflows under heavy rain. Experts believe it will take years for the vegetation to be fully restored, which in turn will help stabilize these areas.
Many areas in the western states are at an increased flood risk due to wildfires in recent years. After a wildfire, the charred ground where vegetation has burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding and mudflow over a number of years. Wildfire-affected areas include states such as California, Arizona and Nevada. Properties directly affected by fires and those located below or downstream of burn areas are most at risk.
In addition to the heavy rains and wildfires, the West Coast has thousands of miles of levees, which were constructed to help protect homes and land in case of a flood. However, levees are not fail-proof and can, weaken, or overtop when waters rise, often causing catastrophic results.
Flash floods are the #1 weather-related cause of death in the U.S. since they can roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges. A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours, which is caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms. Flash floods can also occur from the collapse of a man-made structure or ice dam.
New construction and development can change the natural drainage and create brand new flood risks. That's because new buildings, parking lots, and roads mean less land to absorb excess precipitation from heavy rains, hurricanes, and tropical storms.
Doesn't my homeowner insurance policy cover flooding?
No. Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowner insurance policy.
If my home is flooded; won't federal disaster assistance pay for my damages?
Not necessarily. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low interest loan to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the president formally declares a disaster and must be repaid along with any existing mortgage.
Am I eligible for flood insurance?
Yes, everyone lives in a Flood Zone. You live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can qualify for National Flood Insurance.
Can I get flood insurance if I'm renting a property?
Yes, you can get flood insurance to cover the contents of your home or business.
I live in a low-risk flood zone. Do I really need flood insurance? Is there a low-cost policy for homes in moderate-to-low risk areas?
Most likely, yes. It's a good idea to buy flood insurance even if you live in a moderate- or low-risk area. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest. You may qualify for the Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) that provides contents coverage beginning at $49 per year and building plus contents coverage beginning at $129 a year.
How much coverage can I get?
Homeowners can insure their home for up to $250,000 and their contents for up to $100,000. Renters can cover their belongings for up to $100,000. Nonresidential property owners can insure a building and its contents for up to $500,000 each.
Why do I need flood insurance, even though my community has never been flooded?
Flooding occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as in high-risk areas. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snowmelt, and broken water mains can all result in flood. Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Structures located in high-risk flood areas have a significant chance (26%) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. In a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by a flood as by fire. For these reasons, flood insurance is required by law for buildings in high-risk flood areas as a condition of receiving a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.
I live in a high-risk risk area. After my home was damaged in a flood, I received federal disaster assistance. Do I need to purchase flood insurance now?
Yes. If you live in a special flood hazard area (SFHA) and have received disaster assistance in the form of a federal grant or loan, you must cover the building for flood insurance for as long as you own it. Should you sell the building, you are required to inform the new owner of the necessity to purchase and maintain flood insurance. Failure to carry flood insurance could result in the denial of future federal disaster assistance.
Why does my mortgage lender require me to buy flood insurance?
Under federal law, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas (SFHAs).
The amount of flood insurance coverage required by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, is the lesser of the following:
The maximum amount of NFIP coverage available for the particular property type,
The outstanding principal balance of the loan, or
The insurable value of the structure.
If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead in a moderate-to-low risk area, federal law does not require flood insurance; however, a lender can still require it. It is also recommended since historically one-in-five claims come from these moderate-to-low areas. Note that if during the life of the loan the maps are revised and the property is now in the high-risk area, your lender will notify you that you must purchase flood insurance.
What’s insured under Building Property coverage?
- The insured building and its foundation
- The electrical and plumbing systems
- Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
- Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets
- Window blinds
- Detached garages (up to 10% of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy
- Debris removal
What’s insured under Personal Property (Contents Only) coverage?
- Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
- Portable and window air conditioners
- Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
- Carpets not included in building property coverage (see above)
- Clothes washers and dryers (even in a basement)
- Food freezers and the food in them (even in a basement)
- Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
What’s NOT insured by either Building Property or Personal Property coverage?
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
- Currency, precious metals and valuable papers such as stock certificates
- Property and belongings outside of a building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools
- Living expenses such as temporary housing
- Basement improvements like finished walls, floors or ceilings, or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement, such as furniture and other contents
- There are also some exceptions for coverage in areas below the lowest elevated floor of your home
- Enclosed areas under the first floor used for storage; the contents will not be covered by flood insurance
Products are not NCUA/NCUSIF insured and are not guaranteed or obligations of One Nevada Credit Union. Property, casualty and life insurance offered through One Nevada Insurance Services, LLC.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: To offer you an accurate quote, we may need to collect information from consumer reporting agencies, such as driving record, claims and credit history reports. Future reports may be used to update or renew your insurance.
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