Rain predictions prompt flood insurance warnings

Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 23, 2015

Jackey Perry and her family know first hand how important it is to have flood insurance. In 2012, Tropical Storm Debby drove them out of their South Tampa home.

“It happened in the middle of the night. We woke up to the sound of the rain and went and looked in our backyard and saw a lake,” Perry said.

“It probably got a couple inches deep enough to saturate all the floors,” she added.

They weren’t in a high-risk zone and hadn’t intended to get flood insurance, but thankfully their mortgage company required it. It only cost them about $30 a month.

“What would have happened if you didn’t have flood insurance?”

“I honestly don’t know,” she said.

The damage was between $20,000 and $30,000.

Experts are warning homeowners to get flood insurance because the National Weather Service is predicting a lot of rain in the months ahead because of the effects of El Nino.

Eric Most with Most Insurance says almost 40 percent of flood claims nationally take place outside of high risk zones. And the number is much higher in Florida.

“We all know here if you live in the Tampa Bay area it doesn’t take a lot of rain to create flooded streets, which leads to flooding that happens in homes,” she said.

Here are some important flood insurance facts according to Most Insurance.

A base policy usually covers $250,000 for the home and $100,000 for contents.

Those policies usually cost about $400 a year.

Because flood insurance is administered through the federal government, policy terms should be the same everywhere.

But discounts maybe available if you tie it in with your homeowner's insurance.

Also remember flood insurance only covers rising water, not rain water coming through the roof.

You also can’t wait until a storm is coming because there is a 30-day waiting period.

Meanwhile, the Perrys moved to a new home, one they hope is elevated enough to stay dry. But they plan to get flood insurance anyway.

“I guess the reality is you're never secure because the water is all around you here,” she said.

Information on flooding and flood insurance from the Pinellas County government can be found here.