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Flood Insurance

Why Flood Insurance Is Important

Do you have flood insurance? Chances are you don't. Only 22% of homes in Florida were covered by a flood insurance policy as of 2020, leaving the vast majority of homeowners in the state to fend for themselves and bear the brunt of the cleanup costs when disaster strikes. It doesn't take a lot of water inside your home to cause a lot of damage: just 1" of water intrusion can cause up to $25,000 in damage.

What follows are reasons why having flood insurance in Florida is not just important but critical. As they say, you can't predict flooding, but you can prepare for it.

You’re NOT Already Covered

Flooding, flash floods, or rising waters: However you describe it, flooding is not covered in a typical homeowners policy. Flood coverage is sold separately due to the unique risks of flooding and the potential for catastrophic losses.

"Rising waters" is often used to describe floodwaters, to help distinguish it from other types of water damage occurring in the home. For example, water damage from a sudden burst water pipe or from a leaky roof after a storm might be covered by your standard homeowners policy (depending on the policy) because neither of those events involve rising water aka floodwaters. In the leaky roof example, it might be covered by a standard policy offering windstorm coverage.

Flooding & Florida

Flooding is simply a reality of life in Florida.

There are many reasons for this, and a lot of those reasons are beyond anyone's control. For example, Florida sits just above sea level in many places and we have the lowest elevation of any other state in the nation. Our extraordinarily long coastline and location in the world (known as "hurricane alley"), make us a target for heavy rainfall and regular hurricane/tropical storm activity.

In addition, Florida is particularly susceptible to flooding due to:

• Heavy rain – As recently as mid-April 2023, torrential rainfall in a 24-hour period in Fort Lauderdale broke all previous rainfall records in the state. Entire neighborhoods were swamped with more than 2 feet of rain. Transportation and trade systems were halted, which led to gas shortages elsewhere in South Florida. And, as temperatures continue to rise, we may see more catastrophic flooding events like this.

• King tides – Also called recurrent tidal flooding, king tides are the temporary rise in sea levels due to currents, winds, and tidal forces like a full or new moon. King tides offer a look into the impact future sea level rises will have on our coastal communities.

• Drainage system malfunctions– Canals can and do overflow and rain can quickly overwhelm the city's drainage system), just as and levees can be breached.

• Hurricanes & tropical storms – Florida is practically all coastline, so the threat of storm surge flooding is very real for many. This involves a temporary rise in sea level as a hurricane or tropical storm comes ashore, carrying a “wall of water” miles inland.  

Damage Caused by Flooding

Flooding can cause damage to life and limb, property and personal belongings, infrastructure, as well as the environment.

In your home, flooding can compromise the integrity of your home's foundation, walls, and floors of your home, as well as promote the growth of mold and mildew. Flooding can damage electrical outlets, wiring, and appliances – and pose the threat of electrocution.

The cost of cleanup and repair after flooding is shockingly expensive. To get an idea of what flood damage inside your home might cost you, click the "get started" link on the National Flood Insurance Program’s FloodSmart site and adjust the lever based on the size of your home and amount of rising water.    

Flooding also can wash out roads, bridges, damage services essential to daily living (e.g., water and sewer systems), erode soil, damage crops, and disrupt entire ecosystems.

Benefits of Flood Insurance

The No. 1 reason to buy flood insurance is for the financial protection it offers, should you suffer a direct physical loss caused by flooding. Flood insurance can help you build back and recover more quickly after a covered incident – and avoid the overwhelming expense of having to bear the costs yourself.

Flood insurance also allows you to comply with requirements of the financial institution holding your mortgage. Many lenders require Florida homeowners to carry flood insurance, especially if your property is in a high-risk flood zone. To find out if you're in a flood zone, use the FEMA flood map, call the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at (877) 336-2627 or simply call your agent at The Windward Insurance Agency, who will walk you through what it all means for you.

Unlike federal disaster assistance, flood insurance payouts are more substantial and comprehensive than what the federal government might provide: compare the average flooding payout of $5,000 from FEMA vs. nearly $30,000 from a NFIP flood policy. Flood insurance offers homeowners peace of mind, knowing you're protected in the event of a flood.

Get Your Flood Coverage Now

Make sure your Florida home, condo, or apartment's contents (if you're a renter) are covered in case of flood damage today. Flood insurance is the only sensible choice when you live in Florida.

The Windward Insurance Agency can help you find the right insurance coverage, including flood insurance, for you and your family. We can help you navigate all your insurance options. Get a quote now or call us at (866) 231-2433 for assistance.