WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hurricane season kicked off this week with Tropical Storm Arlene forming Friday, and insurance experts warn most homeowners need to consider flood insurance.
"If it rains at your home in Florida, there's a good chance it's going to flood," Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute said.
Most homeowners, Friedlander said, consider flood insurance only if they live near the coast, but freshwater flooding, such as what happened in Fort Lauderdale in April, can happen at any time.
"You can get a thunderstorm that forms, and if that thunderstorm sits right on top of you, it can produce a huge amount of rain in a short period of time, inches and inches and inches of rain," WPTV First Alert meteorologist Steve Villanueva said.
This comes as the cost of federal flood insurance increased significantly, especially along coastal areas under a new risk assessment from FEMA.
However, federal insurance is not the only option with several private insurance companies offering flood coverage.
"FEMA wants you to move over to the private market," Friedlander said. "They don't want to be in the flood business. They've lost billions because their rates were inadequate."
He said homeowners should seek out rates from private insurers.
"In most cases, you will get a lower rate from a private flood insurer than you would be from FEMA's national flood insurance program," Friedlander said.