Is It Important to Have Flood Insurance in South Walton Beach?

The quick and easy answer to this question is yes.  Everyone living near the coast, or other areas prone to flooding, should have flood insurance.  Even if your home is not close enough to the coast to be affected by storm surge, the huge amount of rain that accompanies a hurricane could still cause flooding in your home.  Home insurance companies consider any damage done to your home by water from the ground a flood.  So, any damage caused by a broken levee or a clogged drainage system, or any other event that causes water damage from the ground up, is considered a flood.  It’s important to know that home insurance does not cover flooding of any kind.  

Do you need flood insurance and South Walton BeachWill FEMA help bail me out if house foods from a hurricane

Many people mistakenly think FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will bail them out in the event of a destructive hurricane.  The US Government and FEMA will step in if the President formally declares a disaster, however, the assistance you get is normally in the form of an interest-bearing loan that must be repaid.  Payments do not begin to be made until thirty days after the event.  

Can I get National Flood Insurance?

National Flood Insurance Protection (NFIP) is available to those who live in communities participating in the reforms of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.  However, if you live in a Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS)you are limited to private insurance.

NFIP is basic flood insurance that covers up to $250,000 in property damage, and $100,000 in personal property loss.  If your home is worth more than this and is located close to the coast, you will probably want to add private flood insurance to cover your losses in the event of a catastrophic storm.  Private insurance companies generally add a hurricane deductible that is added on to cover damage incurred during a hurricane.  In the state of Florida, the hurricane deductible goes into place when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch or warning for any part of Florida and ends 72 hours after the last hurricane watch or warning anywhere in the state.  If damage occurs to your property, even if it is not hurricane-related, during this time, the hurricane deductible is in place.  

How to calculate the hurricane deductible for flood insurance?

The hurricane deductible is calculated as a percentage of your insured property, often 1, 2, 5 or 10% of your property’s value.  These costs run much higher than your standard deductible.  If your property is worth $300,000 and your hurricane deductible is 2%, then you will pay the first $6,000 of incurred expenses before your insurance kicks in.  Should your home be hit with more than one hurricane in a season, you only have to pay the deductible once.  '

What costs does NFIP cover?

NFIP does not cover the costs of evacuation or living expenses incurred while your home is being repaired.  Private insurance often covers your living expenses following a damaging hurricane.  Be sure to read your policy carefully to know specifically what is covered.

Is South Walton Beach compliant with NFIP?

Walton County is working with NFIP to be in compliance with the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.  This entails having and maintaining a flood prevention ordinance, reviewing development orders, inspecting buildings for compliance, reviewing substantial damage and improvement projects, being involved in any watercourse alterations, participating in variances requests, actively participating with FEMA with regards to map changes, and enacting public outreach projects.  Walton County’s success with these efforts has earned it a Community Rating Score (CRS) of 5.  This means Walton County residents are eligible for a 25% discount on flood insurance for private residences.  Bay County residents are also eligible for the 25% discount.

In conclusion

If you don’t currently have flood insurance, it would be a good idea to purchase it before the hurricane season begins next year.  There is a thirty-day waiting period for flood insurance purchased during an event with flooding potential to go into effect.  It is important to realize that hurricanes are not the only reason you should have flood insurance. There are times during the year when we can get over 5 inches of rain in a day. Be prepared for when any storm hits and feel confident that your home is protected as well.

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