With lots of snow and weather warming quickly, is it time to talk about flood insurance?

Apr 5, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2023, 12:43 pm

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected, a previous version stated that NFIP does not cover groundwater. It does cover above-ground water flooding.

SALT LAKE CITY — All this new snow is melting and will be gone shortly as temperatures climb toward Easter. But where will it all go?

If you don’t have it, should you start talking about buying flood insurance?

Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic ask an expert about what flood insurance covers, what it doesn’t, and where to buy it.

Let’s ask the flood insurance expert

Kathy Holder, state hazard mitigation officer of the Utah Division of Emergency Management, breaks down what to know about flood insurance. Watch our video to get a deep dive into flood insurance, or read on to stay informed.

“What does flood insurance cover?” Dave asked.

“It covers the structure,” Holder said, “and if you buy contents coverage, it covers the contents of your home. And it depends whether you’re getting a National Flood Insurance Policy through the NFIP or if you’re buying a private policy.”

Find out more about insurance against flooding at the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA.

According to NFIP, ” Just 1 inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, so flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation.”

In addition to earthquake insurance, Debbie said she purchased flood insurance for her home ($323 a year) and had this to add:

“There is a 30-day waiting period once you purchase it for it to kick in and become effective.”

Holder said to talk to your agent about purchasing insurance.

The two links above access information about insurance by the U.S. government, which come with a 30-day waiting period. 

You can also purchase private insurance.

Holder also pointed out that different policies cover different things. Therefore, do your research on what policy best fits you. 

If the flooding is above ground, ‘you’re covered,’ says expert

Dave asked if insurance will help with the cost of sandbags or other ways homeowners can prepare/prevent potential flooding.

Holder said policies purchased through the federal government (FEMA and NFIP ) come with reimbursement endorsement/rider for flooding mitigation.

“I would just recommend that as people are looking at whether they’re doing sandbagging or they’re cleaning out their gutters . . . to make sure they do it in a manner that’s not going to put water off on their neighbors to cause problems for them,” Holder said.

Flood insurance will usually cover all aboveground water flows (such as a broken fire hydrant) but may not cover groundwater seeping into a basement, Holder said, so first talk to your insurance agent. 

Know your limits (on flood insurance)

“Is there a dollar amount limitation?” Dave asked. “I know with earthquake insurance, there’s like a percentage that they figure out in the coverage, but is there a cap on how much is covered?”

“So with an NFIP policy for homeowners, it’s $250,000. . . if your home is worth more than that, and you’re doing the NFIP policy, then I would get a secondary flood-insurance policy to cover anything above that,” Holder said.

She added the $250,000 limit only covers the structure of the dwelling. An additional policy is needed to insure the contents of the home, which is ideal for renters.

Enter your address and find your flood map here.

Related reading: Avalanche danger entering unfamiliar territory as temperatures rise

Don’t have a chance to watch our video? Listen to the segment below!


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

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With lots of snow and weather warming quickly, is it time to talk about flood insurance?