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Flood insurance: Know what's covered under your policy

Posted at 8:05 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 04:20:56-04

As Harvey made its third landfall in Texas, the cost of damages to homes is rising. Experts estimate the total cost to be around $30 billion.

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Most of the affected homeowners, so experts, don’t have flood insurance. During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, about half of flooded homes were covered by flood insurance.

In the case of Harvey it’s only two of 10 homeowners who have coverage.

Experts say there are important lessons to be learned for Floridians from Harvey. The biggest one: Get flood insurance.

“Texas is a wakeup call,” Robert Norberg, president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Palm Beach County said. “They never expected that much rain.”

Whitney Wiseman, who is currently spear-heading a donation effort for Harvey victims, owns RFI in Lake Park, a company that specializes in repairing flooding damages in homes.

“Flooding is the worst type of damage that could happen to  your home aside from complete devastation from a tornado,” Wiseman said. “I’ve been to every major disaster area since Katrina. Everyone should get flood insurance because you just never know what can happen.”

Norberg said everybody should get flood insurance.

“No matter where you’re are, you’re in a flood zone,” Norberg said. “If you’re in a high-risk zone you’re required to have flood insurance.”

If you’re not in a high-risk zone it’s up to you to get coverage.

Experts warn about complacency, especially in areas that are not prone to flooding.

“People think because they’ve been insured for 20 years they ought to be covered for flood insurance,” Norberg said.

But most homeowners insurance don’t cover flooding.

“Now is as good a time as any to get flood insurance,” Norberg said.

He said the fact that we’re in the midst of hurricane season doesn’t have an impact on prices, neither does Harvey.

“Prices change on an annual basis,” Norberg said.

If you’re in a low-risk zone, you can get a flood insurance policy for relatively cheap. If you’re renting, you should look  into a flood insurance for your personal belonging, which are not covered under the flood insurance for the house.

Once you sign a new policy it will take 30 days to go into effect.