Obtaining a homeowners’ insurance policy is essential for those seeking protection for their personal property. However, many homeowners may not realize that coverage for water damage due to flooding is often not included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies. Especially for Pennsylvania residents living in more flood-prone regions, securing a flood insurance policy is critical for having financial protection from unforeseen water damage.
Why Pennsylvania Homeowners Need Flood Insurance
According to data collected by FEMA, 99% of U.S. counties have been impacted by a flooding event in the past 20 years. Pennsylvania homeowners are at particularly high risk with the majority of the state experiencing 50 or more flooding incidents in any given year. The average claims payment for flooding in Pennsylvania is more than $20,000, and the most flood-prone regions of the state include its southeastern, southwestern, and northwestern counties. With so much flood activity in the state, it’s imperative that Pennsylvania homeowners consider obtaining a flood insurance policy to protect against financial hardship caused by water damage.
Cost of Flood Insurance in Pennsylvania
Many factors dictate the cost of flood insurance in Pennsylvania, including location, home value, claims history and more. While the cost of your individual flood insurance policy will vary based on your specific details, the National Flood Insurance Program reports that the average Pennsylvania resident pays $1,176 annually for their flood insurance coverage needs. Premiums may be more or less depending on the following information:
- Flood risk
- Type of coverage
- Amount of building/contents coverage
- Design and age of home
When to Purchase Flood Insurance
Many flood insurance policies require policyholders to wait at least 30 days before coverage becomes active. This is why it’s important for homeowners to secure coverage well before a storm is expected to arrive. While there is no “right” time to purchase flood insurance, shopping for such a policy the moment you realize your home falls within a region of increased risk can save you a lot of trouble in the future. In Pennsylvania, residents tend to experience the most flooding during the spring. Therefore, it’s wise to purchase a policy prior to the spring thaw so you can have active coverage when you need it most.
How to Purchase Flood Insurance in Pennsylvania
Securing a flood insurance policy in Pennsylvania is fairly simple: Residents may contact their current homeowners’ insurance provider to see if they offer such a policy, or seek coverage elsewhere. According to Pennsylvania’s official government website, flood insurance products are widely available through private insurers, including surplus lines insurers (a type of insurance that’s provided by an insurer that’s not currently licensed in the policyholder’s state). It’s important to note that insurers typically offer two types of flood insurance policies: dwelling and contents. Dwelling policies cover your home’s structure while contents policies cover any damage to personal property within your home. Be sure to review your options carefully with your selected provider so you understand whether or not their coverage options are right for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
My home has been redrawn into a flood zone. What should I do?
FEMA updates its flood risk map periodically, which may cause your home to be redrawn into a known flood zone. Homeowners can appeal this decision by calling 1-877-FEMA-MAP or visiting the FEMA website. If, however, FEMA denies your appeal, it’s a good idea to obtain a flood insurance policy ahead of the spring season so you have the coverage you need in an emergency.
I have a homeowners’ insurance policy. Am I already covered?
No. Standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically do not include flood insurance. Be sure to carefully review your policy and seek out any additional coverage options that may be available through your existing provider so you can obtain the flood coverage you need.
FEMA already makes disaster relief available after a flood. Why should I purchase flood insurance?
While FEMA provides disaster relief to areas that have been declared an emergency by the President, there are many flooding issues that can arise in the absence of such an emergency declaration. With flood insurance, your claim is paid out regardless of whether or not the President has deemed the situation a disaster zone. Therefore, it’s pertinent that residents purchase a policy — especially if they live in an area that’s considered high-risk for flooding.