Much of Pinellas County is prone to flooding, so you should consider getting flood insurance for your home, business or rental.
Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover losses due to flooding. Flood insurance is mandatory for buildings that have federally backed mortgages and are located in a special flood hazard area.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) protects your most important investment: your home or business and its contents. The insurance is considerably less expensive than federal disaster loans and it’s 100% backed by the U.S. government.
Flood insurance covers you for damage to your home, business and its contents due to water from inland or tidal flooding and erosion due to flooding.
Don’t assume you’re safe from flooding just because you live on the third floor of your condo building. If a severe flood wipes out the ground floor of your building, all of the other units in the building may become uninhabitable as well.
Flood insurance has a 30-day wait period before coverage starts, so you will not be insured if you wait until a flood is forecast to take out your policy.
Did you know?
If your property is in a special flood hazard area, there is at least a one in four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
Flood insurance rates are calculated based on a variety of factors, including FEMA flood zone, structure elevation and building construction. Policies can be purchased for contents only, building only, or both contents and building coverage. Getting an Elevation Certificate will help agents properly rate your policy.
Many NFIP policies provide subsidized premiums that are much lower than the actuarial premium, which is the actual expected value of the loss.
Because costs and consequences of flooding have increased, the President signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. This law may impact your flood insurance rates and you may receive a letter from FEMA requesting an Elevation Certificate so that they can determine your true risk rate. The County recommends that you check with your insurance agent to verify any changes to your policy.
Did you know?
If your subsidized flood insurance policy lapses beyond 30 days more than once, you will not be eligible for a subsidized rate when you reinstate your policy.
If your subsidized flood insurance policy lapses beyond 90 days, you will no longer be eligible for a subsidized rate.
Flood Insurance Eligibility
You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You are also eligible for a discounted rate if your community participates in the Community Rating System.
Did you know?
Nearly 20%of flood insurance claims come from areas that are not in a specialized flood hazard zone.
Flood Insurance Claims
Before a Flood
- Take photos or video and inventory your property. You will need this, should you have to make a claim.
After a Flood
- Take photos or videos of the damage to document your losses for your insurance claim before you move any debris or remove damaged belongings.
- Make a list of damaged contents.
- File your insurance claims promptly. There are time limitations on submitting claims with many insurance companies.
- Do not sign an Assignment of Benefits. In Florida, there’s a rapidly growing scam in which a few shady home repair vendors pressure homeowners to sign away the rights and benefits of their insurance policies as a condition of performing work. This practice has led to grossly inflated claims and an explosion of Assignment of Benefit lawsuits against insurers, which is driving up the cost of homeowners’ coverage for consumers. For more information, visit Florida Property Insurance Fraud: Don’t Sign Your Rights Away.
Have questions about flood insurance? Contact Pinellas County insurance advocates for help.
- Elevation Certificate Information
- Flood Insurance Claims Handbook
- Flood Insurance versus Disaster Assistance
- Florida Property Insurance Fraud: Don’t Sign Your Rights Away
- Floodsmart.gov – Flood preparedness, flood insurance, estimate your premium
- Loss Avoidance Reimbursement
- National Flood Insurance Program