Flood Insurance Basics in Greater New Orleans
Summer is here in New Orleans. The dreaded heat is upon us, kids are out of school, and you guessed it... hurricane season has officially started.
I don't know about you but I hate thinking about it, especially in June because it seems as though we don’t really *have* to be worried until August or September. But as we hear over and over again, waiting until there is a storm headed our way isn't the time to start preparing - it’s the time to act on our preparations!
Last week I wrote about Preparing your Home for Hurricane season. If you missed it, check it out here. There’s even a handy emergency kit checklist you can download and links to buy a prep kit if you don't already have one.
This week I want to talk about flood insurance. Maybe you have the same hurricane prep kit from last year... great! But every year it's good to look over your flood insurance policy to make sure you have adequate coverage. You *cannot* get new flood insurance when there’s a storm in the Gulf - so don’t wait!
Do I really NEED flood insurance?
Some of Orleans and Jefferson parishes are now in Flood Zone X - which means those homeowners aren’t necessarily required to have flood insurance - but still should!
The average flood insurance policy costs $700 a year, and it can be ~$450 a year if you’re in Flood Zone X. It’s worth it for the peace of mind it provides year-round, especially with the increase in flash flooding from heavy rain we’ve seen locally.
If you have a mortgage on your home and you are in a flood zone, you must have a flood insurance policy.
Flood zone maps have changed in the past couple of years for both parishes, so to check the latest info for your home, enter your address into the LSU Ag Center tool. You can also get more info through Risk Map 6.
Don’t really know what you are looking at? Email me @ [email protected] with your address and I will look it up for you. I am not a licensed insurance agent but i can provide you what is on those sites and possibly recommend contacts for further information.
What does flood insurance cover?
Flood insurance covers:
- The structure of your home, including plumbing, electrical, and climate control systems up to $250,000.
- The contents of your home up to $100,000.
As with homeowners insurance, it’s a good idea to take pictures and/or video of your home and valuables and store them in the cloud in case you need to make a claim.
For more info on what flood insurance does and doesn’t cover, click here.
Getting Flood Insurance
There are two big differences between getting homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance. The first is that flood insurance can be transferred between homeowners when a home is sold. The second is that all flood insurance is through the National Flood Insurance Program - so the price doesn’t change depending on where you buy it.
You can contact just about any local insurance company to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP. If you don’t have a go-to agent, you can contact the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to request an agent referral.
FEMA has more FAQs on buying flood insurance here.
Remember, you cannot make any changes to your flood policy or get new coverage while there is a named storm in the Gulf! It can also take up to 30 days for your policy to go into effect, so again don't wait until August when storms start to come out of nowhere to get yourself squared away.
Transferring a Policy
When purchasing a home, often the best and most inexpensive way to get coverage is to assume the current seller’s policy. You can do this for flood insurance only, not homeowner’s insurance.
Sometimes, the currently seller has a policy that has been in effect for a while so you can be grandfathered in to their rate. IF you chose to assume the seller’s current policy, be sure to review their coverage. Their coverage might be less than you would desire.
If the current seller doesn’t have flood insurance you will need to purchase a flood elevation certificate to get an accurate quote.
Looking for more?
I’m not an insurance agent but I can help you find your home’s flood zone and provide referrals to insurance agents who can help you get covered. I can also help you find a home in Greater New Orleans that is in Flood Zone X and has lower chances of flooding altogether. Email me at [email protected] and let’s chat!
Buying and/or Selling in Greater New Orleans?
Check out my guides for each experience to learn more and get started on the right foot. Then reach out and we'll manage your situation together!