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Facts on flood insurance as the rain persists

MOUNT JOY, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --- The weather over the past months are creating a “challenge" for insurances companies, says Delbert Turman, vice president of Susquehanna Insurance.

“It’s just such an extreme event. Normally, storms that cause flooding is overwhelming and the damage amount is so excessive that it needs to be handled on a federal level,” said Turman.

That opens the debate of “have it and not need it…" or “need it and not have it” when it comes to flood insurance.

Turman said anyone can get flood insurance whether they live in a high risk flood zone or not.

He said going through an insurance agent is the only way to get coverage from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Turman explains that any business or home with a mortgage in a flood zone is required to get flood insurance.

He said anyone can get flood insurance, whether they live in a high risk flood zone or not.

“If you don’t, then it’s up to you. You’re taking on the risk of having damage or not having damage from a flood event,” said Turman.

He said a common misconception is homeowners insurance will cover flood damage.

It does not.

“Often times, a homeowner's policy is going to cover broken pipes or if there’s a water or septic break in your basement or water that comes through a sump hole,” said Turman.

He said the cost of flood insurance premiums are wholly dependent on the risk.

For example, a home that is not in a flood zone looking for full coverage on building ($250,000) and content ($100,000) protection is looking at a $499 annual premium.

A similar home looking for the same coverage that is in a flood zone faces a $5,594 annual premium.

A business looking for full coverage (building protection limit of $500,000) that isn't in a flood zone faces an annual premium of $2,246.

Same coverage for a business located in a flood zone faces an annual premium of $15,877.

In determining the premiums, Turman said the location, design and age of the home all factor into the price.

He said the main concern from clients on flood insurance is if the premium is worth the randomness of major flood events.

“If you feel like you have any risk and you can afford the premium, you should buy flood insurance,” said Turman.

Turman also wanted to stress that as Hurricane Florence comes towards the east coast of the United States, insurance agents are restricted from providing new coverage due to the very high risk of flooding.

He said you'll, most likely, have to wait until the storm passes to get a new coverage plan.

For more information on flood insurance, Turman recommended the FEMA website here.