Forget Health Insurance, Get Flood Insurance

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April showers usually bring May flowers but this year March seems to be stealing its thunder.

A series of heavy rains have battered the Northeast in recent weeks, putting many homes at risk of serious flooding. In Boston, the governor recently had to deploy the National Guard after a nasty flood while some parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut had to be completely evacuated.

To make matters worse, some home owners will likely find out the hard way that they don’t actually have flood insurance. Many Americans assume that flood insurance is included in their regular home insurance policies, but this kind of insurance is actually sold separately through the federal government. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid floods so far this rainy season, take this is as a wake up.

Flood insurance rates vary based on how likely your area is to be flooded. Rates can be as high as $4,000 a year or as low as just $119 a year. The insurance itself should cover up to $250K of structural damage as well as an extra $100K for damaged goods inside the house.

You can find out whether your area is at a high risk for flooding by checking Floodsmart.gov, run by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). But as we’ve reported previously, even homeowners in low-risk areas face a serious flood risk. The NFIP has estimated that a quarter of all claims each year come from low and medium risk areas.

For anyone who doesn’t have flood insurance, Jay Fitzgerald points out in the Boston Herald that it may still be possible to get some compensation after flooding if you argue that some of the damage was caused by “wind or other factors unrelated to water seeping in.” But why not just play it safe? The last thing you want to do after your house has been destroyed is spend hours on the phone trying to blame your tragedy on the breeze.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.

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