Do Santa Barbara Homeowners Need Flood Insurance?
Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year
In a previous blog, I shared that FEMA advises Califonia residents to purchase flood insurance. The question of flood insurance is a hot topic again right now after three recent hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — caused staggering damage from floods, winds, and storm surge. It’s likely they will make the record books as the most costly natural disasters in U.S. history.
Although California doesn’t get hurricanes, we do get large storms. Forecasters are warning of a chance of thunderstorms, hail and flash flooding across recent burn areas in Santa Barbara County in the coming months. The potential for flash flooding is greatest in the foothills and mountains.
While the damage caused by some types of natural events—such as lightning or wind—will usually be covered by your existing property insurance policy, you need a special policy if you want protection from flood damage. The good news is that flood insurance will pay the homeowner regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration
Flood insurance covers damage to your property and its contents caused by a flood. This includes losses resulting from water overflowing from the ocean, rivers or streams, heavy or prolonged rain, storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, broken dams or levees, or other similar causes. To be considered a flood, water must cover at least two acres or affect two properties.
Location is the most important factor for weighing your risk for flood damage. Check this flood map search online to see if your Santa Barbara home is in a flood zone.
Keep in mind that there’s a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before your policy goes into effect, so I recommend you get your flood insurance now!
The best time to purchase flood insurance coverage is well in advance since rates can vary according to the time of year. Your coverage options may also be limited by wait periods that require a certain amount of time to have elapsed between signing up for coverage and submitting a claim.
If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, contact the NFIP Referral Call Center at (888) 379-9531 to request an agent referral.
If you’re looking for a new home in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at [email protected]. I’ve been selling real estate in Santa Barbara for more than 25 years, am familiar with Santa Barbara’s flood zones, and am happy to help you with all your real estate needs!