If you live in New Hampshire, Maine or Massachusetts, you should highly consider safeguarding your home and belongings from devastating flood damage with the right insurance coverage. While you hope to never face such a situation, being prepared is crucial. Water can cause significant and costly damage in a short span of time, making flooding a risk that should never be overlooked.
Things to Know About Floods in New Hampshire & throughout the US:
- According to Risk Factor, there are 74,761 properties in New Hampshire that have greater than a 26% chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years. This represents 16% of all properties in New Hampshire.
- A major new study says federal flood maps have far underestimated how many properties in New Hampshire and nationwide are at risk from substantial flooding, now and in the coming decades.
- Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the U.S. and worldwide. Damage from flood waters surpasses the losses caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes – as horrifying and powerful as those catastrophic events are.
- 25% of all flood claims are located outside of “high risk” A and V zones.
- The average flood claim in the US for residential is $46,000. The average commercial flood claim is $90,000.
Restoring your home to normalcy should be the least of your worries when the worst happens. Keep in mind that flood insurance is not included in standard homeowners insurance policies. To obtain this coverage, you’ll need a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private flood insurance company. We represent both the NFIP & several private flood insurance carriers at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance. The coverage and pricing rates are set by the government if you choose an NFIP policy.
Every state and 98% of the nation’s counties have experienced a flooding event. Still, only 4% of U.S. residents have flood insurance and only 40% of those in A or V zones. Why such a gap in coverage? Mainly because homeowners believe one of these myths:
- My house isn’t in a “flood zone” or My lender doesn’t require it!
- I have a homeowners policy!
- If it ever happens, FEMA will bail me out!
Exposing the Myths – Important facts for New Hampshire residents:
Myth # 1 My house isn’t in a “flood zone” or My lender doesn’t require it
The truth isAbout 80% of Hurricane Harvey victims did not have flood insurance, mainly because their flooded homes were not in A or V zones, so they were not required to buy it. With 75% of FEMA maps outdated (some as old as 1983), this just isn’t a reliable indicator of risk. 25% of all flood claims occur outside of high risk (A & V zone) areas.
Myth # 2 I have a homeowners policy, so I am covered
The truth is homeowners and renters policies do not cover flooding. Customers need a separate flood policy to cover flooding events.
Myth # 3 If it ever happens, FEMA will bail me out
The truth is a federal disaster must be declared before FEMA assistance becomes available. If a declaration is made (occurs less than 50% of the time), the “bailout” is usually in the form of a low-interest disaster loan, which must be repaid. Some families also rely on grants which, if provided,
Understanding Flood Insurance Coverage in New Hampshire:
Flood insurance coverage encompasses protection for your home’s structure (building coverage) and personal property (contents coverage) in the event of flood damage. Some policies even provide financial assistance for temporary relocation if your home becomes uninhabitable. This includes repair and replacement costs for various items, such as:
- Electrical systems
- HVAC systems
- Valuables (up to policy limit)
The coverage limits and deductibles in your policy depend on the flood insurance risk associated with your property. When you purchased your home, you likely received a flood determination zone report indicating the likelihood of flooding. If you’re unsure about your zone, check the flood maps provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or feel free to contact us at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance and we can run one for you.
If you reside in a high-risk flood zone, such as coastal areas, floodplains, or near large bodies of water, you’ll need a standard risk policy. However, those in lower-risk zones who are less likely to experience flooding can opt for a preferred risk policy at a more affordable price. Regardless of the zone, the coverage remains the same!
Considering a FEMA/NFIP Flood Policy?
Here are some points about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program that are worth taking into consideration:
- FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance as protection against flood losses while requiring state and local governments to enforce floodplain management ordinances that aim to reduce flood damage.
- Homeowners and renter’s insurance policies do not generally cover flood damage. Only a flood insurance policy will protect your property and belongings after a flood event.
- Without a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, most residents who suffer flood damage would pay out of pocket or take out loans to repair and replace damaged items.
- A flood insurance policy can cover both your residence and its contents. The National Flood Insurance Program’s building coverage includes foundations, electrical and plumbing systems, and water heaters. An NFIP contents coverage policy would cover clothing, furniture, personal electronics, and portable and window air conditioners.
- The location of your property and the amount of desired coverage will determine your policy premium. Flood insurance typically goes into effect 30 days after it is purchased.
- If you own a home within a designated special flood hazard area, and you receive federal disaster assistance for your flood-damaged home or personal property, you must purchase and maintain flood insurance coverage on the property for the life of the building. If you sell your home after receiving federal disaster assistance, the new owner is required to maintain flood insurance coverage. In most cases, an existing flood insurance policy transfers to the new owner with no lapse in coverage.
- If you are a renter and receive federal disaster assistance for flood-damaged personal property, you must maintain flood insurance coverage for as long as you live at the flood-damaged rental property. The flood insurance requirement ends if you move from that property. The policy does not transfer to a new renter of that property.
What are the New Hampshire Towns with the most number of NFIP/FEMA Flood Policies (as of April, 2023)?
|New Hampshire Town or City
|Total Number of NFIP Policies
What Flood Insurance Does Not Cover:
While flood insurance provides comprehensive financial coverage, there are limitations to consider. Floods caused by non-external forces, such as burst pipes or water heater malfunctions, are not covered by a flood policy. However, if the burst pipe or malfunction is a result of flooding from a storm, your flood insurance policy will cover the costs.
Additionally, flood insurance does not cover damage to outdoor landscaping or external structures caused by floods. Moreover, your basement, although part of your home, does not have the same level of protection as the rest of the house. While contents coverage includes belongings in the basement, the walls and flooring are typically excluded.
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
How do you determine if you need flood insurance? In some cases, New Hampshire residents are required to obtain coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This is particularly common if you live on the coast, in floodplains, or areas prone to hurricanes (which may also necessitate hurricane insurance).
Even if you’re not federally mandated to have flood insurance, it’s still wise to consider adding this additional policy. Just a heavy rainstorm can result in a few inches of damaging water entering your home or basement.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
The federal government regulates flood coverage prices, with coverage limits of up to $250,000 for residential homes and $100,000 for residential contents (as per NFIP guidelines). The actual out-of-pocket expenses vary depending on factors like policy limits, property value, and location. There can be big differences in premium when comparing flood insurance policies from Private Markets vs. NFIP.
How to Obtain Flood Insurance:
Depending on whether or not you go with a private flood option or the NFIP, coverage for flood damage is not retroactive and typically takes 15 to 30 days to kick in. Therefore, it’s essential to sign up for protection well before a storm approaches.
When purchasing a policy, you have two options: buying directly from the government or through a private insurer. While the price is fixed, private flood insurance companies usually provide shorter waiting periods before coverage begins.
What are the top 5 flood insurance companies in NH?
In our opinion, these are the top 5 flood insurance companies in NH & we pointed out what makes them so great:
What are the benefits of AonEdge:
• Obtain a quote without an elevation certificate and without providing property photographs
• Coverage limits exceed the coverage limits offered by the NFIP
• In some instances, coverage may be effective immediately
• Underwriting requires responses to only a handful of questions to prepare a premium indication
• EZ Flood is not subject to federal surcharges or reserve fund assessments, and may be less expensive to purchase than NFIP flood insurance
• Optional coverages available: Loss of use pays up to $250 per day, not to exceed $5,000 per occurrence for additional living expenses and $500 food spoilage coverage. $1,000 swimming pool clean-up protection.
What are the benefits of Selective Flood:
- Selective Flood has been in business since 1926 & has an “A+” (Superior) rating by A.M. Best. They write personal & commercial flood insurance in all 50 states.
- Selective Flood is also the 4th largest “Write Your Own” insurance carrier in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
- What makes Selective Flood unique is that they work exclusively with independent insurance agents & they have Regionally based Flood Territory Managers, Claims Examiners and Appointed Adjusters.
- Our agency always prefers to write NFIP flood policies through Selective Flood because we feel their claims & customer service is better than most other carriers that are in the “Write Your Own” flood program through NFIP.
What are the benefits of Selective Flood:
- Neptune Flood will write Dwelling Coverage up to $2,000,000 & Contents Coverage up to $500,000 (NFIP will only write $250,000 for Dwelling & $100,000 for Contents). Neptune Flood is deal for both standard and high value homeowners.
- Neptune does not require a Flood Elevation Certificate.
- There is no wait on real estate closings, otherwise there is only a 10 day waiting period with Neptune (vs. 30 day waiting period with NFIP).
- Neptune will cover limited basement contents, such as wall fixtures, elevators, air conditioners, and washer/dryer up to $10,000.
- Neptune Flood also offers Pool Repair & Refill (up to $10,000), Unattached Structures on Property (up to $50,000) and Temporary Living Expenses (up to $10,000).
- They offer deductibles of $1,000, $2,500, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 & $50,000.
What are the benefits of CatCoverageFlood:
- In our experience, CatCoverage has some of the most competitive flood policies in New Hampshire & all of the other states where we write with the exception of FL (ME, MA, CT, VT, RI, NY, FL, OH, IL).
- CatCoverage flood policies offer contents coverage in basement, debris removal, coverage for decks & carports.
- There is no wait on real estate closings, otherwise there is only a 15 day waiting period with CatCoverage (vs. 30 day waiting period with NFIP).
- CatCoverage offers dwelling limits up to $5 Million, eliminating the need for excess coverage in many cases.
- CatCoverage is accepted by mortgage companies to satisfy mandatory FEMA Private Placement Guidelines.
What are the benefits of Wright Flood Flood:
- As the largest provider of federal flood insurance (NFIP) policies in the U.S., their roots date back to
- the inception of the Write Your Own (WYO) Flood Program in 1983. Wright Flood has been there to help
- communities recover from local floods and large disasters, like Katrina, Wilma, Irene and Sandy.
- They have an “A- “(Excellent) rating by A.M. Best.
- Wright Flood is an industry leader with flood as our core product. Wright Flood has earned an A.M. Best A- (Excellent) rating for our financial strength and long-standing relationship with FEMA.
- Write Flood has Proven claims service – nationwide. This includes Automated claims reporting – online or by phone or fax. In-house, full-time claims management staff and an excellent track record for claims handling through Katrina, Ike,
- Irene and Sandy.
- Write Flood also offers excess flood coverage options to insure up to replacement cost.
Don’t lose sleep over potential water damage or other catastrophes to your home. Take a proactive step to protect your home and belongings with a flood insurance policy endorsement. If you need assistance along the way, our insurance professionals at Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance are here to help! Secure your peace of mind when it comes to protecting your home against flood with one call to our trusted insurance agency.
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