The recent floods this year have many homeowners rethinking their need for flood insurance.  Even if you are dealing with a few inches of water, flooding causes serious damage to your home and can cost several thousand dollars. There is a slogan that comes from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is that “Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone", floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding. Homeowners insurance covers damage to your property if caused by other means, such as a fire or a tree falling on it, but it does not cover water damage that results from flooding. Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire. If you are looking for a unique way to evaluate your risk, there is an assessment tool located on the National Flood Insurance Program

Once you have evaluated your risk, you will need to decide which type of insurance you need, there are two types of flood insurance:

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)

The SFHA, as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) represents the 100-year regulatory floodplain. What this means is that in any given year, properties in this area have a one-in-100 chance of becoming flooded. Residents in the SFHA are only allowed to carry regular or Standard flood insurance which is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). To get a Standard or Regular flood insurance policy, please contact your local insurance provider. For information about the NFIP or flood insurance providers, please call 800-427-4661 or visit

Preferred Risk Flood Insurance (PRPs)
This is available to home-owners that are not considered at immediate risk However, FEMA warns that over the life of a 30-year mortgage, property owners in areas like Sacramento can expect an approximately 26% chance of flooding.  So this really is the “what if’ policy.  Again, just because you haven’t had a flood in 100 years, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Once you have flood insurance, you’re protected against major financial loss. Taking stock of your possessions and knowing what your policy covers before a flood occurs can help when you need to file a claim.  It is a great idea to create a personalized “flood file” that contains these items:

1) A copy of your insurance policy with the contact information for your agent or insurance company.

2) An inventory of the possessions in your home or business on a room-by-room basis. Describe each item and include serial numbers, model numbers, date of purchase, and receipts.

3) Photos or videos of your possessions.

4) Copies of other important papers.

Safely store your flood file in a secure place, away from the property you are insuring: typically in a safety deposit box.  Also review your policy and understand what’s covered. Flood insurance covers buildings and/or contents for residential and non-residential structures. It’s important to know what your policy covers and how you would go about filing a claim.