Is flood insurance worth it? Local agent talks coverage, dealing with damage

Local News

ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – The 13600 block of E. Highway 80 in Odessa has become impassable to drivers. Five vehicles were trapped today, leaving drivers stranded for a period of time.

“Dang, I haven’t seen anything like this since Louisiana and Houston… the flood!” said Patrick Wrighter, who works by the flooded area. “One of the drivers thought he could make it in his truck, but you know, he got stuck. He should of just turned all the way around like everybody else did.”

An overflow of water and a lack of drainage flooded the service road for half-a-mile. At least one man was seen wading through the shoulder-deep water. Boats were even brought out to help those who got stuck. The floodwaters reached the windows of trucks, covered mail boxes, and blocked off business storefronts.

“We joke all the time: ‘Why do we need flood insurance when it never rains?” said Mary McCourt, an insurance agent with The Copeland Group under the insurance company Nationwide. “But then there are these drastic times on these rare occasions where you do find yourself regretting not purchasing a flood policy.”

McCourt says car owners who have comprehensive coverage can file a claim for flood damages. As for homeowners, those living in a flood zone are required to have not just a homeowner’s policy, but a flood insurance policy.

“Most homes being flooded now are probably not in flood zones,” McCourt said.

There are two different types of flooding that can happen at a home. McCourt said the first is when the home floods within itself. For example, if a pipe or water heater bursts inside the home. That’s covered under homeowner’s insurance.

But the second type of flooding is when water rises from the street level. A flood policy would protect against that, whereas homeowner’s insurance would not.

For homeowners who want a flood policy, they can call an insurance agency for a quote. But the policy must be active for 30 days.

“So, you can’t look at the forecast and see, ‘Oh my God, next week, it’s going to flood,” McCourt said.

McCourt said most homeowners who are interested in a flood policy often fail to list all of their personal belongings inside their homes, in their flood policy.

“So, if your home is flooding, and it’s ruined all of your computers, all of your furniture… if you don’t have the contents coverage with the flood policy, then your furniture and all your personal belongings won’t be covered,” McCourt said.

Perhaps the most important thing is to take photos of all the damage. Once the cost of the damage is listed and a claim is filed, then an insurance adjuster will come out to see the damage. It could lead to a paycheck for you. If your vehicle or home is financed by a lender, the lender will also receive compensation.

McCourt goes on to say, there are three factors that can influence the price of a flood policy: when a home was built, the square footage of the property, and if the property is elevated. The best thing to, she said, is to check in with your insurance provider every six months to go over your coverage.

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