Flood Insurance

We’re coming up on hurricane season, and if you’re from New Orleans, it’s always a worrisome time. So today I’d like to talk to you about flood insurance. 

Hurricane Katrina

Going back to Hurricane Katrina… I handled dozens and dozens of Hurricane Katrina cases, and tried to help all my neighbors get back home with regard to their claims for property damage that was caused by the storm. So I’ve learned a lot about flood insurance over the years, and I wanted to share some of it with you.

Federal Program Coverage

Currently, as you know, there is a federal program that’s administered by different private companies like State Farm or whoever. And according to the program, the maximum coverage you can have for your structure is $250,000, and the maximum amount you can have for your contents is $100,000. 

What You Must Know About Flood Insurance

Now, there are a few things you need to know about flood insurance.  Number one, it doesn’t cover what they call appurtenant structures. What is an appurtenant structure? That is a carport, an outdoor kitchen out back, or a garage with a bunch of things in it. If it is detached from the home, it is not covered. 

The only way it is covered is if it’s connected to the home by an interior wall. So if you have a brick fence that connects the home to that structure, it will not count. 

So, the reason why I’m mentioning this is that if you are planning some sort of a renovation, you may want to consider some sort of a breezeway or walkway that’s covered and has that interior wall. It’s a cheap solution to get that appurtenant structure covered, should it be damaged by the flood.

How To Get Sufficient Content Coverage

Another thing that I saw during that time was the fact that people had insufficient contents coverage. Now there are a couple of ways you can work around that. If you try to get additional flood insurance coverage, it’s very pricey. 

Why You Should Consider An Inland Marine Policy

I discovered another means to get coverage. It’s called an inland marine policy. So, what you would do there is to buy this separate policy, and you schedule your contents. And what I mean by that is you list them out. 

So, take your most expensive contents, whether it’s a sofa, fine art, or jewelry. Then you schedule it and make sure you get a current appraisal on it.

And the best part about the marine policy is, number one, that it’s very cheap. Number two, it has no exclusions, so no matter what causes the damage to your insured items, it’s covered. Just remember that the appraisals are very important. 

How To (Possibly) Lower Your Flood Insurance Premium

Finally, depending on where you live, flood insurance premiums can be very high. If you live in an older area that’s maybe lower in the city, more below sea level than another area, you’re going to pay more. 

So it’s definitely worth it to occasionally get a new flood elevation survey. To do the survey, they’ll come out and shoot a grade from the lowest point of the street to your home. Many times, there have been road repairs, or they’ve added concrete or asphalt. This raises it somewhat and that could result in a lower insurance premium.

So, stay safe out there. Hurricane season is right around the corner. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me at chip@cosselaw.com.