While many American homeowners are aware that their standard policies don’t cover flood damage, the majority also haven’t taken any action to protect their homes, a recent poll suggests.
Roughly four out of five (81%) of those included in a poll by Bankrate.com said they know that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage.
“I was very happy that 4 out of 5 survey respondents understood that standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood,” Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, told Bankrate.com for an article on the site.
“This number is a much higher awareness level than we've seen in the past,” he said, adding that 2011’s Hurricane Irene and last year’s Superstorm Sandy clued many Americans into the nature of flood risk.
Still, only 13% of those polled actually had a flood insurance policy, according to Bankrate.com research.
“This is a classic 'do as I say, not as I do' situation,” Doug Whiteman , an insurance analyst with the site noted. “The vast majority of Americans know the key facts about flood insurance, but they haven't taken the necessary steps to protect their homes.”
That’s despite the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify flooding as the United States' No. 1 natural hazard, Bankrate.com noted.
FEMA also classifies properties as either high flood risks or low to moderate flood risks. Of those polled, 51% said they knew the correct classification for their homes.
Whiteman suggests that homeowners find out their correct FEMA flood risk classification, then look into the cost and availability of a flood insurance policy separate from their homeowner insurance.
“The average flood insurance policy costs about $50 per month, so for roughly the cost of dinner and a movie, consumers can protect themselves against disaster,” he commented.
The phone survey was conducted earlier this month by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, and included a sample of 1,003 adults in the continental United States.