What to do if You Don't Have Flood Insurance
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE - MYTHS
There are a lot of myths surrounding home owner's insurance, chief amongst them is that home owner's insurance will cover flood damage. This myth is false. Flood damage to either your home or possessions requires flood insurance to cover the loss. Flood insurance typically comes through the National Flood Insurance Program. You can buy flood insurance through your regular home insurance agent. Another myth is the cost. It sounds expensive, but flood insurance can cost as little as $80 per year. Additionally, flood damage to your car requires comprehensive car insurance to be covered. Minimum liability car insurance just doesn't cut it. For more flood damage myths, check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) pdf Facts About Flood Insurance.
If you decided not to purchase flood insurance, and you've suddenly found your home affected by a flood, you're probably wondering what to do if you don't have flood insurance, what your next step is. There are several options to help uninsured homeowners and even renters.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE - FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE
Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President of the United States declares your state a major disaster area and your county is marked for individual assistance. If you're unsure about your state and county, DisasterAssistance.gov provides a map of covered affected areas. Federal disaster assistance money comes in the form of a federal grant. FEMA grants a maximum of $33,000 a household for repairs. You can use the money to rent a place to live if your home is unlivable, repair damage if uninsured, replace belongings and pay other related expenses including funerals and medical help. FEMA also helps with housing if there are no rentals left in your area. They supply temporary housing for three to 18 months.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE - LOANS
If you're wondering what to do if you don't have flood insurance outside of FEMA grants, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-cost loans to uninsured homeowners, and you don't have to own a business to qualify. The SBA provides up to $200,000 for damage done to primary residences and $40,000 for personal property. The personal property loan is also available to renters. SBA loans have a max interest rate of 4% if you can't get credit from other companies and 8% if you can. The term is for up to 30 years. The SBA also provides loans to affected small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE - BEFORE THE FLOOD
If your area is under a flood watch, it's probably too late to buy flood insurance as there is a 30-day waiting period between your first payment and when coverage begins. If this becomes a reality for you, it's important to know what to do if you don't have flood insurance before the flooding starts. Preparation is vital, so begin by divesting the potentially affected levels of your home of their furniture and valuables. Bring them up to higher levels where they have better chances of making it. If there are pieces of furniture you can't move upstairs like a heavy couch, place drain pans under each leg. This works if you only get a couple of inches of water in your home. If your home is just one-level, try placing valuables inside an empty dishwasher or washing machine, which are designed to keep water both in and out.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON'T HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE - AFTER THE FLOOD
When it's safe to re-enter the home, and you ascertain there was flood damage, call a flood mitigation and restoration company. Time is of the essence, and your home could potentially sit in flood water for a couple of days if the weather event was bad enough, so find and call a company quickly. The faster someone comes out to your property, the quicker the mitigation and restoration process can begin. The goal is always to save as much of your home as possible, so call someone as soon as you can.