It took less than a month to the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season to become one of the worst in recorded history.
The storm surge increased water and tides over 12 feet above ground level in some areas. Harvey shattered rainfall records as it meandered for days, with some areas getting over 40 inches of rain in less than 48 hours.
According to investigators, Irma is among the strongest storms to roam the Atlantic Basin in over a decade. Irma had sustained winds of 185 mph for 37 hours, that is the longest any cyclone anywhere in the world has maintained that level of intensity.
On September 20th, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds. The entire island suffered catastrophic damage. In certain places the damage was complete.
As an independent insurance agent residing and working in South Florida for over 30 years, preparing for and recovering after storms is nothing new. However this year was different. Since Hurricane Irma was making its way toward the southeastern coast of america, we received an unprecedented number of calls regarding flood insurance. Why?
Everyone saw the devastating flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey just a couple weeks earlier. The damage was devastating. So was the news that nearly 80 percent of homeowners in the counties most directly affected by flood didn’t have flood insurance.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the most common and costliest natural catastrophe. FEMA’s flood hazard mapping program is used to identify flood hazards, assess flood risks and determine flood insurance requirements.
Unfortunately, too many homeowners and businesses refuse to carry flood insurance only because they’re not located in a high-risk flood zone. Hurricane Harvey taught us that when it comes to flood, mother nature doesn’t pay attention to FEMA’s flood zone maps. Neither should you.
Flood zones are always being re-mapped, but it’s a lengthy process which can take years. Updated maps quickly become out-of-date. Additionally, the process of identifying property that’s susceptible to flooding is not a perfect science.
Localized drainage problems;
topographic variances on individual properties; or
the failure of flood control systems.
This is why everyone needs to seriously consider flood insurance, no matter whether they can be found in a high-risk flood zone. Premiums are relatively affordable, particularly when you consider the risks assumed by a flood insurance policy, such as the:
overflow of inland or tidal waters;
collapse of land along a body of water from waves or currents; and
rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source, including blocked storm drains and broken water pipes below the surface of the earth.
Uninsured flood damage can devastate any residence or business. Over the course of only a few weeks, we have seen the landfall of not one, not two, but three hurricanes which rank among the strongest storms in recorded history. This is why those relying on flood zone maps to justify their decision to not buy flood insurance should seriously reconsider.