In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many of us are likely thinking about flood insurance. While Southwestern Ohio isn't in hurricane territory, we aren't immune to the effects of hurricane season and/or flooding (see above picture of the Cincinnati riverfront from the 2015 flood).

Here's what Ohioans should know about flood insurance:

Ohioans need flood insurance, too!

Flood insurance covers physical damage to structures affected by flooding from heavy snowmelt and runoff following heavy rainfall. Your flood insurance policy will also cover any damage caused from erosion due to currents or uncommon water cycles (for example, if your home is built along a shore that collapses due to waves, currents or rising water). So if you're living in Newport or along the Little Miami, that's you!

Flood insurance is a national issue

The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, recommends that homeowners purchase a flood insurance policy with two forms of coverage: personal and dwelling. These two combined coverage types will cover most things in your home. (However, after Hurricane Harvey, many legislators are calling for a massive reform - and even privatization - of the NFIP.)

Your flood insurance may be going up

Flood insurance went through a major round of increases this past spring. Seeing the biggest (up to 25%) up in premiums will be those with the following insured "risks": Pre-FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) subsidized non-primary residential properties; Pre-FIRM subsidized non-residential business properties; Severe repetitive loss (SRL) and Substantially damaged/improved properties. On the other side of the coin, those in A and X listed zones could see anywhere from no increase, to an increase of 5%.

However, after major floods (like Katrina), the NFIP can't stay afloat. Estimates for the cost of Hurricane Harvey to the NFIP have come in as much as $15 million. There's no telling how this could affect the average policy.

If you have questions about flood insurance, be sure to talk to your agent ASAP! Flooding is a devastating natural disaster - and even Ohioans need to be prepared.

Sources: The Hill, Harvey damage adds urgency to flood insurance debate | Selective Insurance, NFIP Increases Premium Average by 6%, Starting April 1, 2017 | FEMA, Flood Insurance Manual, Effective April 1, 2017 | Trusted Choice, What Nobody Ever Told You About Flood Insurance

Photo credit: Flickr/5chw4r7z

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