Beware of the Rains
Hurricane Joaquin is illustrating a phenomenon to which all property owners need to pay serious attention: flooding from storm related heavy rains is becoming a norm. You need flood insurance whether you are located near a body of water or not. You may not come to the water, but the water will come to you.
The record-setting weather, which dumped a foot of water over parts of South Carolina in a few days time, is, unfortunately, part of a longer term pattern of heavier and heavier rain totals.
Under flood insurance the definition of flood should, and usually does, include flooding from rainfall.
The FEMA flood program defines flood to include: “Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.”
The very best definitions of covered flood in the private insurance market are as broad as this one example, one of our favorites (emphasis added):
“Flood means any surface water; tidal or seismic sea wave; tsunami; storm surge, including but not limited to the rush of water over or onto land from any body of water caused by high winds associated with a cyclone, tropical storm, hurricane or any other storm and secondarily by the low pressure of the storm; rising (including overflowing or breaking of boundaries) or any body of water, including but not limited to seas, oceans, reservoirs, lakes, streams, rivers, ponds and harbors; all whether natural or man-made, and whether driven by wind or not, and including spray from any of the foregoing that results from, contributes to, or is aggravated by any of the above whether natural or man-made. Flood also includes physical loss or damage from water which backs up through sewers or drains that are below level as a result of flood.”
FEMA- established flood zones will not reflect this new phenomenon. In addition to what flood zone you are in, you need to pay careful attention to the elevation of your property in relation to surrounding land, and consider flood insurance.
Oct 06, 2015