Although a stronger storm, Isaac caused very little damage in Florida. On the other hand, Debby, which was a much weaker system, left hundreds of houses flooded in Central Florida. And according to news-press.com, at least 200 of those homes are still flooded more than two months after the path of Debbie in June.
Tropical Storm Debbie caused extensive flood damage (with some areas recording up to 20 inches of rain), brought several tornadoes and high winds across a considerable portion of the state in June. As a result, thousands of homes were damaged and about three hundred sinkholes opened across Florida.
Yet, the worst damage came from flooding and, unfortunately, many of those affected did not have flood insurance. In our experience, many might not have even known they had no flood insurance: we have often found that people believe their homeowners insurance policies cover this kind of water damage caused by rising water (as opposed to water damage caused by leaking water, which is covered).
There are, of course, those who feel flood is not likely to affect their properties and just don’t purchase it. However, according to FEMA, there is a 26 percent chance that a home will flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage. By comparison, there is only a 9 percent risk of a home being damaged by fire during the life of a similar mortgage.
What’s Typically Covered By A Homeowners Insurance Policy?
A typical South Florida homeowners insurance policy will cover the policyholder’s primary residence (be it a single family home, an apartment or a condominium) and whether it is owned or rented. These policies usually cover:
- Dwellings and other structures within the property;
- Removal of debris from covered damage;
- Damage to boilers and machinery;
- Damage caused by water (including mildew and toxic mold claims);
- Damage caused by a sinkhole; (a new, complex Florida Statute governing sinkhole claims recently went into effect)
- Damage caused by hail;
- Damage caused by other falling objects;
- Damage by theft or vandalism;
- Damage caused by windstorm (hurricanes, tornadoes)
- Damage caused by trees and shrubbery, as well as their removal;
- Damage caused by lightning;
- Damage caused by fire;
- Damage caused by smoke.
The good news is that coverage for flood damage is available. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program managed by FEMA that provides up to $250,000.00 worth of flood insurance coverage. Therefore, considering that many homes today are worth considerably more than that, it is recommended that you purchase additional flood insurance from a private insurer. However, please note that this additional coverage is available only after you have purchased the NFIP protection.
Please note that although this is a federal program, the coverage has to be purchased from private insurance companies. To find out if your community is eligible under the program, please visit FEMA’s website.
Premiums for Flood Insurance
Premiums for flood insurance depend, of course, on where the property is located. For example, although the average premium for flood insurance for a house located in a none flood area was about $600.00 a year in 2010, the same coverage can cost as much as $3,900.00 a year for $250,000.00 worth of flood insurance coverage for a home located in a coastal zone.
The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help
Regardless of what kind of coverage you would like to see included in your homeowners insurance policy, you should have an attorney help you review your policy and advise you on what coverage you should have and for how much. With more than 75 years of combined experience, the Miami Dade County Homeowners Insurance Claims Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have helped thousands of homeowners all over Florida review their policies, present their claims and get the compensation owed them by their insurance carrier.
Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.