More than four out of five Americans (81 percent) know that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage, according to new research from Bankrate.com, for which they interviewed more than 1,000 U.S. adults. However, a similar majority has not acted to make up for this lack in coverage.
Past information aligns with this new research, as a 2012 poll by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) found that only 13 percent of American homeowners had a flood insurance policy.
The lack in coverage persists despite declarations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identifying flooding as the top natural hazard in the United States. According to an INN story from last fall, flood damages have gone from amounting to $1 to $2 billion annually in the 1970s to costing $15 billion in 2011.
“This is a classic ‘do as I say, not as I do’ situation,” said Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst, Bankrate.com. “The vast majority of Americans know the key facts about flood insurance, but they haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect their homes.”
Americans may know the threat exists, but they don’t necessarily know just how at-risk they are. FEMA usually classifies properties as either high flood risks or low-to-moderate flood risks; only 51 percent said they know the correct risk category for their homes, according to the Bankrate.com survey.
Whiteman says homeowners to be informed of their home’s correct FEMA flood risk designation, then encouraged to review their homeowner’s insurance policy to investigate the cost and availability of a separate flood insurance policy. According to Whiteman, consumers believe purchasing a separate flood insurance policy is much more expensive than it is in reality.
“The average flood insurance policy costs about $50 per month, so for roughly the cost of dinner and a movie, consumers can protect themselves against disaster,” he said.
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