Did you know in the past five years, all 50 states have experienced either a flood or a flash flood? Moreover, the total flood insurance claims average more than $3.5 billion each year.
Just as its name suggests, flash flooding is flooding that occurs rapidly. Caused by heavy rain, ice jams or levee failure, flash flooding can happen in the blink of an eye and cause devastating results. For those who live in a high-risk area, flash flooding is more likely to occur than a fire, which is why it is so important for homeowners to be aware of the risks the elements present. And while flash flooding is a threat that affects the United States coast to coast year-round, these are the top five states where flash flood hazards are most prevalent.
New Jersey may only have 67 square miles of dry land in flood-prone areas, but more than 154,000 people inhabit this small space. That many residents combined with low-lying land puts the Garden State at severe risk of sustaining flash flood-related damages.
Although New York doesn’t typically conjure images of flash flooding, researchers have said that storm swells could easily devastate Manhattan within the next century. The city narrowly missed widespread damage from Hurricane Irene and could sustain significant damage via flooding in the coming years.
While Southern California isn’t particularly known for flooding, the area is susceptible to storms that push the high tide line more than 3 feet above sea level — a number that is only increasing thanks to rising oceans. This puts certain areas like Huntington Beach and Long Beach (and the 325,000 people who live less than a meter above sea level) at risk.
After the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina, it’s no surprise that Louisiana tops the states as one of the biggest flash flood hazards. Nearly 900,000 residents live in the state’s 1,180 square miles of dry land that is only a meter or less above sea level. These residents are at risk of experiencing the devastating results of flash flooding.
The Sunshine State has more than 1.6 million people who live in the 638 square miles of its coast that is less than 1 meter above sea level. Because the bedrock off the coast (particularly in places like Miami) is so vulnerable, building a seawall is impossible. This means in the case of flash flooding, many homeowners will likely have to move to higher ground and are at extreme risk of property/casualty damage.
How to Prepare Your Clients for Flash Flood Risks
Flooding is the No. 1 natural disaster in the United States, so it is important that your clients are prepared for a potential disaster. Now is a good time to talk with your clients and ensure they have financial protection via flood insurance.
Not sure where to start? As an insurance agent, there are numerous ways you can ensure your clients are prepared for a flood. For starters, make sure your clients understand the potential effects a flood could have on them. If your clients do find themselves in the middle of a serious flood and don’t have a flood insurance policy, they will be left paying for the damages out of their own pockets. It is essential that your clients understand that a standard homeowners policy does not insure their home or belongings for the risk of flood. Flood and excess flood policies will offer clients’ coverage for physical loss and damage caused by flood or rising water. It’s also important to note that clients will typically have to wait 30 days before their flood insurance policy takes effect, so it is valuable to urge clients to invest in coverage sooner rather than later.
Learn More About ASI
ASI is one of the largest homeowners insurance carriers in the United States. Through a network of independent agents, the company offers home, condo, renters, dwelling fire and flood insurance in over half the country, with plans to cover the rest by 2017. Find out more at AmericanStrategic.com