Community Issues

People Rush to Buy Flood Insurance -- Should You?

The number of people buying private flood insurance skyrocketed in the past year. Why, and what you should do.

The number of people getting private market flood insurance in Pennsylvania jumped 72% in the past year. State insurance officials aren't totally sure why, but they're glad.

The increase in the number of new policies could be because of the widespread and catastrophic flooding the state experienced last spring and summer that caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. In the Pittsburgh region some neighborhoods flooded not once, but multiple times and people found out the hard way their damage was not covered by insurance.

"We hear stories from homeowners and renters who suffered significant losses that were not covered because they did not have flood insurance." Jessica Altman, PA Insurance Commissioner

The sudden rush to buy private flood insurance might also be attributable to the fact that private insurers can now sell coverage, and sometimes it's cheaper. Up until four years ago, the government-run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), almost exclusively provided flood coverage. The insurance department says a new flood insurance education campaign probably also had an effect.

Most standard homeowners' and renters' insurance policies don't cover flood damage. While many mortgage lenders only require flood insurance for properties in what are known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), you can still get coverage if your'e in a flood-prone area.

Click here to find out more about NFIP insurance and private coverage.

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