Flood Insurance: Do you need it and how to get it?

- Most standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover damages caused by floods like the one experienced over the weekend in Ellicott City. But not everyone knows that.

That means some people whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed may not be covered for losses.

Fred Gossage, a State Farm agent in Ellicott City, says flood insurance is completely separate from a typical homeowners policy and needs to be purchased from the federal government. He said that it’s easy to get and that any insurance broker should be able to provide it for a customer.

For building occupants who are renting - homeowners insurance and flood insurance policies are recommended because, typically, the property owner policies do not cover the belonging of the tenants.

LEARN YOUR FLOOD RISK: https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/

Vehicles, he said, are covered by comprehensive auto insurance. Rule of thumb, said Gossage, is if the water reaches the dashboard of the vehicle it’s declared a total loss. He says sometimes people with older cars choose not to not carry comprehensive coverage.

Flood insurance can be mandated by some mortgage companies if the property is located in a flood plain. But if you own the building, typically the decision is up to you. "You might get a business owner or property owner that says, 'Well my building is paid off, I've owned it for long time, the last major flood was Agnes in '72, I'm going to roll the dice so-to-speak and I’m not going to spend that $3,000 or $4,000 to cover it,'" Gossage said.

Gossage says the damage he has seen in Ellicott City is tremendous. His advice - remember that flood insurance is always a separate policy.

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