Flood Insurance

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, May 10, 2019.

  1. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    I live in the Northern Houston (Texas) suburbs. During the last Hurricane Harvey, our neighborhood survived 3 days of torrential downpour, without flooding, until the last day when in their wisdom, the City/County decided to open the flood gates of Lake Conroe, a water supply for Houston for fear that the dam might fail. This extra release of water put our community over the edge, and 30% of the homes here, ended up with water in them, except a few like my neighborhood who are on the far and high side away from the river. So I could brag I have a flood proof house, at least from river flooding.

    This last last weekend, we had a rain event where thunderstorms stalled overhead and dumped 10” of rain in the course of a day and too my surprise, the neighborhood across a main road artery, only a half mile away, people ended up with water in their houses (400 houses) because (my impression) the large drainage culverts, used to ferry water out of the neighborhood and down to the lake were overwhelmed, overflowing their banks and into people’s yards and their houses, a couple inches up to one foot of water.

    That is a disaster, when you discover your home insurance does not cover this extensive damage, flooring, drywall, furniture, cabinets, etc. Again my house remained dry. Can I say my wife chose my house wisely or just dumb luck? When we were in the market, she did the looking and knew where the problematic neighborhoods were when it comes to flooding.

    Anyway, I was out of town visiting my Father, and after getting back, when we realized just how close flooding came to us, we decided to bite the bullet and yesterday, I applied for National Flood Insurance through my insurance company USAA.

    Here is the interesting part, it takes 1 month from the date of applying, for the insurance to take effect. This is so when a hurricane is coming, people can not quickly get insurance for a pending weather event. It’s $480 a year for $250k of coverage. Because it is Federal insurance, and reasonably priced, it might be like UHC for weather events. :)
     
  2. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #2
    Thank gods for USAA. That's all I have to say. It's like my generator - as long as I have it, I won't need it. (We bought the genny right after Katrina. We are not only in a good area, flood wise, but all the homes in our neighborhood are up on stilts - just in case.
     
  3. Huntn, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #3
    After losing power for 24 hours, I am seriously considering a home generator, the kind that runs on natural gas and kicks in automatically when power fails, tieing into the house wiring. As you probably know, those are not cheap. And of course, the caveat is that it does not end up under water. ;)

    Speaking of home generators, I know this has been discussed probably in one of the Hurricane threads, but does anyone (including you) have the kind of generator I’ve described?
     
  4. Lee_Bo macrumors regular

    Lee_Bo

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    #4
    Sadly a lot of people think their homeowners insurance includes flooding but unfortunately it doesn't and they find out too late.
     
  5. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #5
    That's exactly what we got, after being without power for a week after Katrina. (24 hours - BFD! LOL!) The genny goes on once a week to make sure everything is good, and even during brief power outages during our spring monsoons, it comes right on. It's a necessity when you live anywhere where the power is not reliable.
     
  6. MisterSavage macrumors 6502a

    MisterSavage

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2018
    #6
    I remember reading an article about Texas storms. This one was kind of annoyed at his wife for insisting they get flood insurance even though the water didn't get to their house. When a hurricane hit months later they were one of the few in their neighborhood that had flood insurance coverage.
     
  7. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #7
    In the UK home insurance definitely includes flooding. Not that we have to worry. We live on a hill.
     
  8. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #8
    Prudence states knowing your neighborhood’s flooding risk be factored whenever buying a home...wherever it is. Knowing your coverage is important.

    Flooding from a sudden broken water pipe is likely covered.

    Slow leaks from a dripping pipe, nope.

    Sump pump failure is not typically covered unless you purchased sump coverage.

    If you live in a flood plain then you probably know this because flood insurance is likely required in your mortgage.

    About half the states mandate flood disclosure.
     
  9. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #9
    Here is the thing, I don’t think we are in danger of river flooding, but we could be in danger of flooding due to local drainage issues. And in a hurricane even without storm surge if a tree falls on your house and water gets in, certain types of damage may not be covered that will cost more than the $400 a year, even for 10 years.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2019 ---
    As a rule, in the US, flood damage is not included as a standard feature. It’s an extra.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2019 ---
    I don’t know, wouldn't water damage qualify as flood damage? I’ve had a water heater in my attic for 10 years. Now I’m thinking if it sprung a leak, the damage would not be covered, but I’d have to ask our insurance company.

    Ok, I found this:
    Your homeowners insurance policy should cover any sudden and unexpected waterdamage due to a plumbing malfunction or broken pipe. However, most home insurance policies exclude damage to your home that occurred gradually, such as a slow, constant leak, as well as damage due to regional flooding.

    Sounds like you are right!
     
  10. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #10
    A house I owned in Iowa had a sump. During heavy multi day rain the sump malfunctioned and flooded a portion of the finished basement. The policy had supplemental sump coverage. Damage was about $10k.

    The homes in Minnesota have sumps and alarms.
     
  11. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #11
    Our house in Rosemount had an unfinished basement, with a hole for a sump pump, but we did not have the pump and our basement never got wet. It was built new that way. As I recall the deal was, if it got wet, the builder would install a pump.
     
  12. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #12
    As far as I know this sump has only run twice. It ran this spring during the melt and during a spring melt a few years ago. I must be in a lucky spot. The neighbor’s sump on both sides run every spring...and there’s a lake a stone’s throw away...but it wouldn’t be Minnesota if that wasn’t the case. Ha ha.
     
  13. Zenithal macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #13
    Flooding is a non-issue here. The issue, however, is the gathering of water due to overwhelmed storm drains or ones with bad flow. This in turn causes water to surge in certain area. That is a major hazard.

    Even @Gutwrench who worked for a decade or more in the Bay Area can tell you that it also flooded there during heavy rains. And that place has more flood planning than the southern portion of the state by far.

    I think it's impossible to design any system, even for a new city, to avoid any and all forms of flooding.
     
  14. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #14
    You could get a regular generator which runs on natural gas plus propane. Also UPS units, extension cords and automatic emergency lights, plugged into wall outlets. All for a lot less than one of those home qenerators. If you aren't home a fridge/freezer can hold for a couple days. Longer if on a UPS.
     
  15. Zenithal, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    Zenithal macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #15
    Generac. It's what we have. I've posted in detail about it in the Harvey thread, IIRC. But we paid a tidy sum but we also bought it a decade ago when the home whole house generator trend was very new. It should be cheaper now and I'm betting some insurance companies may offer rebates or some form of kickback.

    Soon as there's a decent droop in power supply, it kicks into gear. I start it up a few times a year to test it. I can flip the breakers in the house and it'll start on its own, too. We actually used it last summer when there were rolling blackouts due to the grid getting too hot due to daytime temps exceeding 115* on some freak days. Used it a couple months ago during the torrential rain storms and some blackouts late last year.


    We'll probably never earn back what we spent on it. I don't think that's very feasible for what it is, but it's a good thing to have, IMO.


    Price is relative to how much total power production you need or want. I mean they offer a 65 kilowatt home generator if you wanted to buy one.
     
  16. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #16
    Flood insurance depending on location is $10,000 a year.
     
  17. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #17
    Where? Not, arguing, but I’ve never heard an amount over about $400. Could you be referencing a location in a flood plain?
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2019 ---
    Earn back is a grey area, that is primarily designed is to avoid extreme inconvenience. ;)
     
  18. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #18
    They charge based on flood risk. So when FEMA rezones a flood map they usually bump up the rates. After years of big hurricanes every coastal city gets charged big time.
     
  19. Zenithal macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #19
    That's the thing. You sort of do. Gas is infinitely cheaper than electricity here. I don't think we'll ever go down the solar path. It's an eyesore. The capture rate blows.
     
  20. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #20
    I remember a while back a criticism of homes being rebuilt multiple times with these low flood insurance premiums because some locations should not be rebuilt or be rebuilt at your own risk. So I like that. I thought some States, I’m thinking North or South Carolina would not let you rebuild a coastal home if it got wiped in. Hurricane.
    --- Post Merged, May 11, 2019 ---
    Same here natural gas is cheaper, but do people install these and then rely on them for their electricity all of the time? Are they built to do that?
     
  21. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502a

    Bug-Creator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #21
    Before or after you added the 80-90% loss from gas to electricity in the generator?
     
  22. Zenithal, May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

    Zenithal macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #22
    Both.

    Theoretically, I could run the forced heat for our house 24/7 during the winter for one month or three and it would still cost less than $110. We pay a pittance during the winter and almost nothing during the summer. Not municipal, either. It's a fairly big house.

    On the other hand, our electricity is done by three municipal organizations that team up (don't ask me to explain how this works as I haven't got a clue) and while it is cheaper than a regional provider, it isn't that cheap. It is, however, more reliable than a regional provider.

    Edit: I haven't a clue whether Generac offers gas/petrol generators, but they do have commercial diesel fuel units. I believe ours will also take a propane hookup but I've never read of anyone doing something like that unless they live out in the middle of nowhere.


    Edit 2: I'm interested where you got that figure from. That's the correct figure for gas/petrol, but I've never seen it touted for natural gas.
    --- Post Merged, May 11, 2019 ---
    I haven't read of anyone doing that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's possible. You would probably want to let the generator cool down for an hour or two every day and do scheduled oil changes. Natural gas burns clean. Relatively at least. Compared to diesel or regular gas, that is. I'd imagine propane connections are the same.

    Thing is these things are hardwired into your homes electrical system. The fuel feed is from your gas company. So unless the gas line gets shut down, you're good to go to an extent. And even then, some of these newer units have dual connectivity; propane or natural gas, and the ability to change feed source. Plus smart monitoring wherever you are.


    Hands down, even if you got a portable unit, I'd recommend whatever Generac offers. Honda is excellent, but their units are quieter, more reliable and easier to maintain than Honda. You'll have naysayers, but even I can maintain the generator if I wanted to. Though it's simpler to have someone come out if you don't want to do that.


    That said, shop around with other companies. Take as much time as you need. If the sales person tries to rush your decision, request someone else. Ideally you'll want to coordinate with your gas provider to make sure your lines can feed the unit without causing a choke on other appliances.
     
  23. jtara macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #23
    Lots of confusion here about what a "flood" is.

    NO KIND of damage caused by plumbing is a flood.

    A roof leak is not a flood.

    A sewage backup is not a flood.

    And pretty much every one of these things requires a specific insurance coverage rider.

    I live in a building with bad/old plumbing, poorly-maintained waste stacks, and a leaking roof. Pretty much every insurance claim by homeowners gets denied, because it turns out they didn't have the right insurance.

    It's on top of a big hill, near the ocean, but at an elevation of about 400 feet. If it floods, we got bigger problems!
     
  24. MacNut, May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

    MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #24
    The problem is the more floods we get the next few decades, it will stress the flood insurance program. I can see rates in Houston going up to cover the costs. While most people think of hurricane coastal flooding, a lot of the floods now is inland river flooding. Those homes were never meant to be raised above the tide line. How do you handle the rebuilding process in these areas that never flooded before but now flood on a yearly basis.
     

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