Yes, it is important to have flood insurance if you live in Destin. The official website for the city of Destin recommends that everyone have flood insurance, even if it is not mandated. Destin is surrounded by waters from the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay, so every property is at risk for flooding at one time or another. Homeowner’s policies do not cover damage from flooding. Insurance companies define flooding as any water that rises from the ground – this includes water that leaks into the basement because the ground is saturated after days of rain.
FEMA and National Flood Insurance Protection
While the US Government and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will step in if the President formally declares a disaster, the assistance you get is normally in the form of an interest-bearing loan that must be repaid. Payments do not begin to be made until thirty days after the event. In short, don’t count on the government to be your flood insurance.
FEMA does oversee National Flood Insurance Protection (NFIP). This basic flood insurance covers up to $250,000 in property damage and $100,000 in personal property loss. If your home is worth more than this and is located close to the coast, you will probably want to add private flood insurance to cover your losses in the event of a catastrophic storm. Private insurance companies generally add a hurricane deductible that is added on to cover damage incurred during a hurricane.
FEMA offers incentives to encourage cities to enact building codes and flood prevention programs that will reduce the amount of damage incurred by hurricanes. It has created the Community Rating System as a way of ranking how prepared cities are to handle hurricanes and to prevent damage. As of 2018, Destin has a CRS rating of 6. This allows Destin residents to have up to a 20% deduction on their NFIP rate. The lower a city’s score, the greater the discount rate for its residents.
In the state of Florida, the hurricane deductible goes into place when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch or warning for any part of Florida and ends 72 hours after the last hurricane watch or warning anywhere in the state. If damage occurs to your property, even if it is not hurricane-related, during this time, the hurricane deductible is in place. The hurricane deductible is calculated as a percentage of your insured property, often 1, 2, 5 or 10% of your property’s value. These costs run much higher than your standard deductible. If your property is worth $300,000 and your hurricane deductible is 2%, then you will pay the first $6,000 of incurred expenses before your insurance kicks in. Should your home be hit with more than one hurricane in a season, you only have to pay the deductible once.
Is flood insurance required?
While it is important to have flood insurance on your property in Destin and is strongly encouraged by the city, it is only mandatory if your property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, you have a federally backed mortgage or loan that is FDIC insured, or you have received a federal grant for previous flood losses and you want to be eligible for aid in the future. You should read through your homeowner and flood insurance policies closely so you know exactly what to expect from your coverage. Flood insurance generally covers clean-up costs, structural damage, appliances, and utilities that were damaged in the flood, and flooring. Evacuation costs come out of your pocket, but if your home is uninhabitable after the storm, your policy may cover your living expenses during a renovation.
If you’re thinking about adding flood insurance or upgrading an existing policy, do it when the sun is shining. Once a flood watch goes into effect, you will have to wait thirty days before applying for coverage. If you don’t currently have flood insurance, why don’t you pick up the phone right now and give your insurance agency a call? You’ll be able to rest a lot more easily when the next storm is brewing on the horizon. So whether you live in Destin or have a vacation rental property you should protect your investment with flood insurance.
Destin home insurance companies
- Affordable Home Insurance 850-654-1567
- Harris Home Insurance 850-244-2112
- Coastal Insurance 850-231-0042