7 Myths About Flood Insurance in Texas

No. More. Rain. Please.
The recent catastrophic floods in Texas remind us that anything can happen, and we must always be prepared. Over 37 trillion gallons of water fell on Texas in May, 2015. That makes May the wettest month on record ever for the Lone Star State. There was enough rain to cover every square foot of Texas with 8 inches of water.

Precious people died during the storm, and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Thousands more were damaged. There was 27 million dollars of damage just to infrastructure alone. It was a calamity. It was a once in two hundred years flood.

We can’t avoid the subject of flooding, and we shouldn’t avoid the subject of flood insurance.

There are many myths about flood insurance. We’ll take a quick look at 7 of them. We must dispel these myths, because not enough of us have flood insurance. Less than half of the affected homeowners in Texas had flood insurance when the recent storms hit. The number of Texas homeowners with flood insurance is actually decreasing each year. In 2014, there were approximately 602,000 flood insurance policies in force in Texas… compared with 4.4 million homeowners insurance policies. Let’s fix that.

Myth #1: I’ll never need flood insurance.
After the recent flooding of biblical proportions, I hope no one thinks this any more. If you dodged the bullet this time, you hopefully realize that you might not dodge it the next time. Anyone (yes, even you folks above high water mark). As a matter of fact, nearly 1 in 4 – 25% – of flood claims are in low risk areas. So just because your “flood zone map” says you are safe… don’t bet on it. ANYONE can be in next year’s flood news.

Myth #2: My homeowners insurance has me covered.
Not true. OK, partly true. If lightening blows a big hole in your roof, and water comes pouring in from the heavens above, you’re most likely going to be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. But only in that unique case. If water rises in the street, or backs up in the storm sewer, and finds its way into your home (and this happens to homes even above the high water line)… your homeowners policy is not going to cover you.

Myth #3: The government has me covered.
Please tell me that you don’t believe this one. Even if the federal government declares your county a Federal Disaster Area (and that happens in less than 50% of catastrophic storms), you may qualify for loans to rebuild. Loans which must be repaid. With interest. If you qualify.

Myth #4: Flood insurance is too expensive.
Let’s debunk that one right now. First, no one whose home was just flooded last month is saying that. If they had flood insurance, it was money well spent. Second, the average claim for flood loss is $30,000. The average premium in the United States is just $650, according to the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). Now of course, those numbers vary dramatically case by case. You can also vary your premium by adjusting your coverage limits. But you won’t know what your rate will be unless you ask your insurance agent.

Myth #5: It’s too late.
This one is a very common myth. But it’s never too late to buy flood insurance in Texas. You can purchase flood insurance through the NFIP or often through private insurance (I can help). Even if you’ve already had a flood! Yes of course no claims will be paid for damage that happened before you took out the policy, and other policy limits may also apply.

Myth #6: I don’t qualify because I don’t live in a flood plain.
Almost everyone, almost anywhere, can get a flood insurance policy. You do NOT need to live in a flood plain. Most policies are issued by the NFIP (the National Flood Insurance Program). Here is a list of communities that have agreed to participate with that program. But private insurance is available too. Call me and I’ll help you figure out your options.

Myth #7: I’ll wait until the next big storm.
That would be a great idea… if it worked.

“Hey honey, the meteorologist says we’re in for a huge rainstorm. Should I call our agent?”

Unfortunately, you must get flood insurance at least 30 days before flood damage would be covered. Yep. There’s a 30 day waiting period. And most meteorologists I know wouldn’t make a bet that they can predict the next “big one” that far in advance.
Let’s talk about flood insurance together.
Flood insurance can be confusing. For instance, the NFIP only covers up to $250,000 on structure loss, and only $100,000 for personal property. What do you do if you need more? And there are many exclusions and limitations, like most of your stuff in the basement is not covered (but some stuff is). Don’t try to figure this out alone. Call me. I want to help.

Wade Whiteside, Whiteside Insurance
Call me toll free from anywhere in Texas at (877) 693-8882.