Flood damage is one of the most common and costly disasters in the United States. Flooding can occur almost anywhere, even if you do not live in a high-risk area known as a “special hazard flood zone.”
It is important that homeowners, renters and business owners evaluate their risks and take steps to protect their homes and businesses from flooding. One way to manage your risks is to purchase additional insurance to cover damage caused by flooding.
According to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), “Maryland is subject to flooding from several different sources. Flash floods tend to come after short periods of heavy rain and most often affect small streams and creeks. General flooding comes from more prolonged steady rain and tends to affect larger streams and rivers.
Major rivers such as the Potomac and Susquehanna often reach flood stages because of events in distant areas of their watershed. Finally, hurricanes and tropical storms can cause surges that create tidal flooding along Maryland’s bays and their tributaries.”
Flood risk maps identify areas that are at risk of flooding. You can search flood risk maps using the Flood Risk Application available on MEMA’s website, https://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/flood-Prone-Zones.aspx.
You can also look up your area on the Digital Flood Insurance Risk Maps (DFIRM) available on the Maryland DFIRM website, https://mdfloodmaps.net/. Be advised that many flood insurance damage claims are filed in areas that are not designated high risk flood zones.
Generally, flood damage is not covered by a homeowners or renters insurance policy. But you can purchase a separate flood policy if you want coverage.
If you have a federally backed mortgage and live in a special flood hazard zone, federal law requires that you have flood insurance. But, even if you are not required to purchase flood insurance because, for example, you do not reside in a high risk flood zone, you own your home outright, or you are a renter, you may still wish to buy flood insurance to protect yourself from damage caused by flooding. Flooding can happen at any time or in any place. You can go to several sites to find out your risk such as: https://mema.maryland.gov/Pages/flood-Prone-Zones.aspx. You can also look up your area on the Digital Flood Insurance Risk Maps (DFIRM) available on the Maryland DFIRM website, https://mdfloodmaps.net/. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to determine your cost.
Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners in most communities in Maryland; even those that do not live in a special hazard flood zone.
You can purchase a flood insurance policy:
If you are considering purchasing a flood policy, it is a good idea to talk with a trusted insurance producer (agent or broker) to make sure you understand what the policy covers. If your mortgage lender requires flood insurance as a condition of your loan, you may also want to check with your lender to make certain that the policy satisfies the lender’s requirements.
A list of authorized insurers that sell private flood insurance in Maryland is available HERE.
Talk with a trusted insurance producer (agent or broker) to make sure you understand what the policy covers. You also should talk with your lender to make certain that it satisfies the lender’s requirements.
NFIP policies offer two types of coverage: (1) building coverage, and (2) contents coverage. NFIP building coverage cover up to $250,000 of flood damage to a home's structure, including, for example:
Surplus lines insurers are non-admitted insurers, which means that the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) has limited regulatory authority over their actions. While the MIA does regulate the claim handling activities of surplus lines insurers, surplus lines policies are not backed by the Maryland Guaranty Fund and you cannot file a claim with the Fund if the insurer is unable to pay your claim.
Also, surplus lines insurers do not file their policy forms with the MIA for approval. Surplus lines coverage may be a good option if you have trouble finding a policy through the NFIP or a private insurer that fits your needs.
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