The one-two punch of last week's Superstorm Sandy and yesterday's nameless nor'easter is likely to put flood insurance on many East Coast consumers' shopping lists, joining generators, bottled water, batteries, and plane tickets the heck outta here.
Unfortunately, unlike those other items, flood coverage is generally subject to a 30-day waiting period, so a policy bought today typically won't provide protection until a month from now. (FloodSmart.gov, the website of the National Flood Insurance Program, describes the few exceptions to the 30-day rule, along with other details.) Still, if your home is in danger of flooding, a peril typically excluded from traditional homeowners insurance policies, flood coverage could be money very well spent.
- Flood insurance is a federal program, though policies are sold through private insurance companies and agents.
- Coverage is capped at $250,000 per residential dwelling and $100,000 for contents.
- Costs vary by risk of flooding. You can get an estimate for where you live, as well as a list of local agents, by typing your address into the NFIP's One-Step Flood Risk Profile.
Our short video Should you buy flood insurance? also answers many of the basic questions.