By Harvey Brown Special to The Pineapple Question: Should I carry flood insurance? Answer: If you live in South Florida, absolutely! There is often confusion about just what flood insurance is and when it is required. First lets deal with the boring definition of flooding which is, “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: A) overflow of inland or tidal waters; B) unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; and C) mud flow. DOES ANYONE SEE POTENTIAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROBLEMS FOR SOUTH FLORIDIANS?! What the definition above means is that it doesn’t always take a hurricane to cause flood claims here. We can have a series of heavy rain showers (like we are having as this is being written!), causing flooding and flood claims. Those of you living miles inland (especially near canals and lakes) are also vulnerable. Remember, flood insurance covers against the hazard of rising water. This is different than “water damage” claims covered by a homeowner policy for say, a pipe break in a wall or a toilet tank leak. Those are not considered rising water. Recall after Hurricane Katrina when there were hundreds of claims against homeowners policies which were denied, because the direct damage to the home was caused by flooding, not wind. People without flood insurance were out of luck. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is in charge of flood insurance. NFIP makes the rules and sets the rates, not the insurance industry and not the state of Florida. Flood insurance is usually required if you have a mortgage and are in a higher risk flood zone (one determined more likely to flood by FEMA surveys.) There are numerous different types of flood zones, some being more hazardous than others. Everyone is in a flood zone but not everyone is in a high hazard flood zone. Check with your agent – this is what we do. What if the bank doesn’t require you to carry flood insurance? We still say to buy the coverage as the premium cost is typically low, often just a few hundred dollars a year. Finally, don’t wait. The only time you can get immediate flood coverage is for a real estate closing with a mortgage; otherwise there is a 30-day wait. No exceptions. As we always say here each month, doing these things will give you that all-important peace of mind. Next Month: Protecting your home: Windows The Harvey L. Brown Agency are experts in auto, home, business, life/health and represent over 40 companies. If you have questions or concerns about your insurance, call 561-276-0369 Monday-Friday 9-5pm.