What Has Hurricane Harvey Taught Us About Flood Insurance

hurricane harvey flood insurance

Hurricane Harvey caused historic flooding in Houston, Texas; many people are curious about the importance of flood insurance.

Did you know that floods are not typically covered with standard homeowners’ insurance?

Flood insurance is an add-on.

Over 200,000 homes may suffer flood damage due to Hurricane Harvey.

According to USA Today, 80% of Houston residents do not have flood insurance and face deep debt.

Most Frequent Flooding Area Chart by FEMA

The two darkest brown shadings show the highest concentration of flood reports in the U.S. between 1996-2013

flood chart

Top 10 States Most at Risk of Flooding

  • Florida
  • Lousiana
  • California
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Georgia


80% of Flood Victims Don’t Have Flood Insurance

It’s been reported that as little as 17% of homeowners affected by Harvey have flood insurance. Everyone else whose home suffers damage from the flooding will be dependent on Government aid such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

FEMA’s grants max out at $33,300 per household. However, most families will receive much less. In fact, to qualify for a grant, FEMA believes your home has sustained so much damage there is nowhere in your home you can live in.

Most Costly Natural Disasters on Record

Tropical Storm Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane when it hit land in Texas, is set to cause some of the most expensive damage in U.S. history.  Here are the top 11 costliest natural disasters on record.

most expensive natural disasters

Do You Have Flood Insurance?

Many homeowners are under the impression that their homeowner’s insurance will cover floods. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and your insurance company most likely never even mentioned it.

You should contact your home insurance company and ask them if your policy includes floods. If not, and your area is potentially at risk, now is a good time to add it.

Anyone can add flood coverage through the federal flood insurance program. Rates are based on the property value and whether or not it’s in a flood plain.

Will the National Flood Insurance Program Rates Increase?

The National Flood Insurance Program was created in 1968. Currently, the average price for flood insurance is about $660 annually. However, the program is already 25 billion in debt and is still paying claims from Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.

The National Flood program only has 6 billion dollars in claims they can cover before they max out. Congress has until September 30th to renew the program.

There’s no doubt the Hurricane Harvey will change views about the flood program. However, for the program to continue running, an increase in premiums may be unavoidable.

Watch CNBC video about Flood Insurance Crisis

Protect Your Home from Flooding

Find out How Water Flows Around Your House

The angle of the ground around your home is known as the slope or grading. Hopefully, you have snooping that flows water away from your home. If water builds up around your home after a regular rainstorm, it’s an indication your home may be at risk of flooding. If this is the case, speak to your local county or city planning or environmental severe department for help.

If a significant tropical storm is headed your way, here are some suggestions

  • Clear your drains and gutters
  • Turn off your electricity using the breaker panel
  • Move valuable items and furniture/mattresses to the second floor