Hurricane flood insurance coverage not carried by many Matthew victims
Many of the homeowners who experienced damage from flooding don’t have the necessary coverage.
Many victims of Hurricane Matthew who have never had a drop of water in their homes before are finding themselves underwater without hurricane flood insurance. Communities well inland and far from flood plains were rescued by firefighters in boats.
Though the concern had been seawater driven ashore, it was rain and runoff that caused considerable flooding.
Drainage ditches were overwhelmed, sending rising waters into the homes of people without hurricane flood insurance. For many of them, it had never occurred to them to purchase the coverage. There wasn’t a history of flooding in their areas and they were not located in high risk areas on flooding maps. For that reason, the expensive insurance coverage had seemed like an unnecessary monthly cost.
That said, Hurricane Matthew chose not to respect the boundaries of those maps and caused flooding damage to homes, furniture and other beloved possessions.
It is not uncommon for storms to take those without hurricane flood insurance by surprise.
Many Americans have either chosen not to purchase hurricane insurance due to the high premiums associated with it or they simply don’t see the need for it. In fact, even people living in areas where flooding risks are considered to be high, the national compliance rate for coverage was only 53 percent last year. This, according to statistics from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Industry officials have cautioned against this trend. They say this situation is troubling, particularly because the instance of flood damage appears to be increasing. Aon National Flood Services vice president Cynthia DiVincenti, said “We seem to be having more and more flooding events, be it climate change or other things. We’re seeing areas that are experiencing flooding events that may not have experienced them in the past.”
Some protection against hurricane damage is included in standard homeowners insurance. This includes damage from fallen trees and branches, torn off shingles and roofs and other similar types of events. However, flooding resulting from rising water on the ground is a different story. It is covered only by hurricane flood insurance.