Hurricane Ian has put flood damage in the national spotlight. Many major cities in Florida saw storm surges over six feet, and inland flooding remained widespread long after the hurricane moved on. Some neighborhoods remain almost inaccessible due to flood waters more than two weeks later.
All of this standing water is incredibly destructive to homes and businesses. Without insurance coverage, it may be financially devastating. That’s why the National Flood Insurance Program exists. Here’s what the program does, how it works, and how you can get your claim covered if your property is damaged by a flood.
What Is the National Flood Insurance Program?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federally-backed flood insurance provider managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program was designed to provide flood protection to property owners because most standard property insurance policies explicitly exclude flood coverage.
While these policies may cover windstorm damage and water damage from burst or leaky pipes, they do not cover damages caused by standing water. Property owners need an additional specific insurance policy dedicated to standing water damage if they want to ensure that they can pay for repairs after a flood. The NFIP was created to fill this gap on a national scale.
How Does the NFIP Work?
The program is available to homeowners in communities who have joined the NFIP. To be approved, the community needs to apply to the NFIP, sign a resolution of intent to participate and cooperate with FEMA, and submit and perform a floodplain management plan that meets NFIP criteria. These requirements ensure that the communities that want access to the NFIP have taken steps to minimize the risks of flooding and mitigate damage.
Once a community has been approved, individual property owners can apply for insurance policies. However, they don’t buy this coverage directly from the NFIP. Instead, the NFIP works with local insurers to provide these policies. If your community is enrolled, then your current property insurer will likely offer separate flood policies that you can buy.
Flood Insurance Policy Types
The NFIP supports two types of policies: “structure” and “contents.” Structure policies cover damages to a building, such as warped floors, damaged drywall, and destroyed carpeting. Content policies cover personal possessions, including furniture, clothing, and appliances.
The specific coverage available under an NFIP policy varies depending on the part of your home affected. These policies treat elevated floors and non-elevated floors differently. Non-elevated floors include crawlspaces and basements. These areas are subject to restrictions in both structure and contents coverage, and the following items are not protected:
- Most personal property, including furniture and electronics
- Floor coverings, including tile and carpet
- Finished and painted drywall
- Non-critical appliances like generators or dehumidifiers
However, they are covered if these features or items are kept on an elevated floor.
We recommend you talk to a qualified insurance attorney before filing any flood insurance claim. Experts like the lawyers at the Professional Law Group will help you understand the specific details of what’s covered under your policy and what damage within your home is eligible for coverage. We will draft and file the claim on your behalf so you have the best possible chance of receiving full compensation for any and all damage caused by standing water.
NFIP and Hurricanes
FEMA has identified flood insurance policies from the NFIP as a vital part of preparing for hurricane season in Texas and Florida. While NFIP policies cover all types of flooding, they are particularly valuable after hurricanes. These storms can cause storm surges, pushing massive floods of water dozens of miles inland. Even properties that aren’t generally at risk of standing water can be flooded when a storm surge rolls through.
Why does this matter? It’s because floods are uniquely damaging. According to FEMA, just one inch of water can cause $11,000 in damage to a 1000-square-foot home. A foot of water can generate as much as $29,000 in damage. None of that is covered by standard insurance policies. If you don’t have insurance or access to tens of thousands of dollars, you may have no way to get the damage repaired.
Worse, flood damage tends to grow over time. Even after the water recedes, moisture is still trapped within a home’s structure. Without immediate action, standing water can lead to significant mold damage and rot. A standard insurance policy won’t cover mold remediation and structural repair if it is linked to the flood. This means a single uninsured instance of flooding can quickly snowball beyond FEMA’s estimates and even render your property unsafe for occupation.
That’s why FEMA recommends everyone with access to the NFIP prioritizes insurance coverage. If you’re not sure whether you’re covered, if you need to file a claim based on your NFIP insurance, or if you believe you have coverage and your claim was denied, consult with the experts at the Professional Law Group. We will help you understand your policy and work with the insurer on your behalf to help you receive full compensation.
Get Help With Your Flood Insurance Claim From the Professional Law Group
After a hurricane like Ian, flooding is inevitable. The NFIP ensures that communities around the US can acquire adequate insurance to cover flooding of all types, whether it’s caused by major tropical storms, rivers escaping their banks, or normal rain and weather. If you need to file a flood insurance claim, talk to the Professional Law Group first. We understand how the NFIP works and can help you file a claim successfully the first time. Schedule your case review today to learn more about how our expert lawyers can simplify the complications of flood insurance and help you receive the funds you need to fix your home.