You can’t turn on the TV, pick up a paper, or scroll through your Facebook feed without hearing about Hurricane Harvey. The storm has already dumped more than 50 inches of rain in the Houston area, the most ever recorded from a single storm in the lower 48 states. More than five million people have been affected by flooding and their troubles won’t be over when the rain (finally) stops.
Here’s why: Only 15% of the 1.6 million homes in Harris County, where Houston is located, have flood insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (as of August 2016).
Why is this number so low? Because flooding is NOT covered under standard homeowners and renters’ insurance. Flood coverage is a separate policy, offered by the National Flood Insurance Program, but only homeowners living in areas that have 1% chance of flooding in any given year are required to purchase it. This means thousands of Houston-area residents will be on the hook for all the damage Harvey has brought to their homes.
It’s not fun to think about a disaster like Harvey hitting the northwest, but being prepared can keep a terrible situation from becoming even worse. No type of flood damage, no matter the source of the water, is covered by standard homeowners’ policies. This includes flooding from storms, over-saturated ground and overflowing rivers and lakes.
Fall is quickly approaching, and with it comes the rain. If you live in an area even slightly at risk for flooding, talk to your insurance provider to make sure you have the proper coverage if the waters start rising.