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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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After Heavy Flooding and Just Before Halloween, Flood Insurance is Scary Stuff

by Shel Horowitz

More bad news: even if you have flood insurance, part of your home may not be insured-because property under the ground level ( basements) have limited flood or water damage coverage. Torrential rain falling through a damaged roof, for instance, wouldn't be covered by flood insurance (though it should be covered under a Building and Contents policy). Of the expected $200 billion in damage from Katrina, only about $40 billion will be covered by insurance.

Michael Long of Axia Insurance Services, an FBC sponsor, warns that though we're not in the hurricane belt, Massachusetts is far from immune from catastrophic weather events, which are worsening lately:

Six of the ten most expensive hurricanes in history occurred in 2004 or 2005.

Massachusetts has been hit by only six hurricanes in the last 100 years, but just in the past nine years, FEMA has issued eight flood emergencies in the state Westfield, Massachusetts saw 18 inches of water in the streets following a 1955 storm.

Considering that flood insurance is not all that expensive, Long suggests looking into it. "$352 buys flood insurance for a $250,000 house."

Long touched briefly on a few other insurance issues, too. He notes that you can buy supplemental coverage to protect against many types of claims, including worker's compensation if a vendor gets injured at your residence, damage from a failed sump pump or backed up drain.

Still, it's hard not to be aware these days of the human cost of inadequate coverage. " There's not anybody in New England or down south who's not saying, for $350 [flood insurance premium], I would have had a place to live."

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