Should New Jersey homeowners, renters consider flood insurance?
With so many Garden State residents adversely impacted by the soaking remnants of Hurricane Ida last week, Gov. Phil Murphy said all New Jersey homeowners and renters should consider getting flood insurance, even if they live in an area that has never flooded before.
During a coronavirus briefing in Trenton on Wednesday, Murphy said families don't need to live in a flood zone to purchase a policy.
"So many families learned last week places that have not been known to flood can and will,” he said. “Ida proved that devastating floods can happen anywhere and at any time – where it rains it can flood.”
Christine O’Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, agreed with the governor that it is wise to consider the idea of flood insurance.
“Regardless to your proximity to water, as Ida has shown, we are all subject to flooding events,” she said.
According to O'Brien, the average National Flood Insurance Policy for a standard New Jersey dwelling runs between $900 to $1,000 per year. And while that's the average, O'Brien said the cost could be much higher, depending on the size and age of the home, flooding history in the area and other factors as well.
Some people might be surprised to learn their current homeowner's policy doesn't cover damage from flooding.
Standard homeowners and rental insurance policies do not cover flood events, but people can get policies through the NFIP. Additionally, O'Brien said about a dozen insurance companies in the Garden State offer standalone flood insurance policies.
O’Brien said you may go years and years and never use an insurance policy but the time may come when you’ll need it and “it is so much better to put that money forward to a future event than to arrive at that future event thinking I should have, I could have and I didn’t.”
For those interested in learning more, visit floodsmart.gov, the website of the NFIP. The site has details about purchasing a policy, as well as policy costs and terms.
O'Brien said buying flood insurance is "one of the best things you can do to protect your most valuable assets.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at firstname.lastname@example.org.