10 Flood Myths That Need to be Busted
Flood events — the nation’s most common and costly natural disasters — cause millions of dollars in damage every year, displacing families and disrupting communities across the country. During Hurricane Harvey, for example, flooding caused by more than 60 inches of rain contributed to a significant amount of the more than $125 billion in damages across Texas and the surrounding states. The worst part is, the Consumer Federation of America estimates that nearly 80% of Harvey victims did not have flood insurance.
Despite the dangers they pose, many home and property owners underestimate just how life-changing these events can be — especially those in low-moderate risk flood zones. At Wright Flood Insurance, our team is serious about flood safety, so we’ve pulled together five of the most common assumptions about flooding to help set the record straight and ensure you have the facts you need to stay safe.
What do you think, are these assumptions true or false? Get the answers below, then share them with other members of your community.
FLOOD MYTH #1 – Only those who live in tropical climates or along the coast are at high risk for flooding. Those who live inland don’t need to worry.
A recent study conducted by the University of Bristol found that flooding rivers put 41 million Americans (more than 3 times the current estimate) at risk. Rapidly rising river levels during and after a storm can cause expensive damage to both infrastructure and personal property across the country.
FLOOD MYTH #2 – My homeowner’s insurance covers flood damage.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not protect against flood loss, in fact, most property policies specifically exclude flood damage. . To be sure you have protection from flood loss a separate policy to cover your home or business for flood loss should be purchased for the building and for your personal property or contents.
FLOOD MYTH #3 – Even if my property flooded it would only be a few inches of water, so it wouldn’t be expensive to repair.
It only takes a few inches of water to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. In fact, just one inch of water in a home can cost up to $25,000 to repair. The good news is, with a little forward planning and the right flood insurance policy, you can protect your home — and your wallet from a flooding disaster.
FLOOD MYTH #4 – Flood insurance is expensive.
The average flood insurance policy only costs around $700 a year (less than $60 a month), while the average flood loss amounts to more than $43,000. Most property owners today would find it easier to budget the cost of a flood policy rather than to cover a flood loss through their family savings. After more recent devastating flood events like Hurricane Harvey, for instance, only 20% of the victims had flood insurance, and reported losses were as high as $115,000.
Don’t let flood damage destroy the home you’ve built because you think flood insurance is too expensive. Contact a Wright Flood agent today and put a flood insurance plan in place to protect your home.
FLOOD MYTH #5 – You can only purchase flood insurance if you live in a flood zone on the flood map.
Almost every building located in a participating community can be covered by NFIP flood insurance, regardless of being deemed at high risk or at low-to-moderate risk of flooding on a flood map. More than 22,000 communities across the country participate to provide NFIP flood insurance and disaster assistance to their citizens and provide guidance for building new structures with flood mitigation building codes in mind.
FLOOD MYTH #6 –Your flood policy provides coverage for your home and all the items inside of it.
Every flood policy will cover the building identified, but personal property coverage, commonly known as contents coverage, is not automatically included. Contents coverage on a flood policy will be identified with a separate coverage limit and deductible if it is a part of your flood insurance policy and noted on your policy Declarations page. Be sure to purchase a flood policy that includes both building coverage and contents coverage to ensure you are protected in the case of a flood. That’s why it is important to be informed about the types of coverage, the amounts of coverage and the deductibles for each category outlined on your flood policy declarations page.
FLOOD MYTH #7 – 100, 500, and 1000 year flood events happen only every 100, 500, 1000 years.
According to the USGS, “over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a house in a 100-year floodplain has a 26 percent chance of being inundated at least once.” Yet, many people honestly believe the labeled designation for a 100, 500, or 1000 year floodplain means a flood event “can only” happen every 100, 500 or 1000 years. The truth is, Mother Nature doesn’t read flood maps, and she certainly doesn’t limit herself to a flood event timeline:
- In the last five years, ALL 50 states have experienced flooding
- From August 2015 to August 2016, there were eight “500-year” floods
- From 2010-2014 there were six “1,000-year” flood events
- In back to back years from 2015, 2016, and 2017 there were three 1000-year flood events in Houston alone
FLOOD MYTH #8 – Flash floods only happen where there are streams and rivers.
Flooding occurs in all 50 states and territories. In fact, floods in the U.S. kill more people than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning. While most flash floods occur due to rapid rising in dry or flowing creeks, streams and river beds, stationary storms that occur one after another over a specific area can also lead to flash flooding. Other environmental conditions that increase the risk of flash flooding include:
- Broken dams and levees
- Semi-arid and dry brittle desert regions that become almost impenetrable to water creating rapid moving runoff with debris flows
- Aging sewage infrastructure that backs up and causes overland flooding in streets and highways
- Mountainous terrain that funnels water into valleys
- Heavy, rapid thunderstorms in swampy or naturally saturated low lying land
- Densely populated and/or largely developed communities lacking natural landscape where water can be absorbed
FLOOD MYTH #9 – A pickup or a large SUV can safely drive through flood water.
You should never attempt the drive through flowing flood waters, no matter how high they are. According to the NOAA, “More than 50% of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related.” In fact, it only takes 18 inches of water to sweep away a large vehicle. And it’s not just the risk of being swept away – flood waters could be covering damaged roads, dangerous debris, and more.
FLOOD MYTH #10 – There is only one way to know if a potential flood is a threat to you and your family – local news reporting and media.
In addition to local news, Wireless Emergency Advisories can make a huge difference in saving lives. While local news and media are subject to blackouts, these free mobile device-powered emergency updates do not require user sign-in or download and can deliver updates relative to a person’s location with ease. Get connected today with the FEMA App, available in the iTunes App store and Android App Marketplace.