Flood insurance: Why you may want to think twice before opting out

All of Florida is in a flood zone, but different areas have different risks, making flood insurance optional for some.

Experts say having it even if it’s not required could help you make ends meet.

While Jim Agle isn’t required to carry flood insurance, he called the decision a no-brainer.

I am a heavy Murphy’s Law believer. If I don’t have it, it’s going to get us,” he said.

“Every part of this country has a malady that they have to deal with. We meet people from out in the Midwest that have to deal with the tornadoes, people out in the West Coast that have to deal with earthquakes. In Florida, we deal with hurricanes.”

The water damage to Agle’s home after Hurricane Irma cost tens of thousands of dollars, something he would have had to come up with without coverage.

“God bless you if you don’t get it but you don’t have anybody to blame but yourself,” Agle said.

Debbie Dellinger-Crep said she has been in the insurance business in Lee County since 1990, and she recommends to clients they at least know their options.

“It’s heartbreaking when people have to come up with thousands of dollars,” she said.

“If you do you have rising water from the exterior of the house and you do not carry a separate flood policy, you have absolutely no coverage.”

She said rates are based on your home’s elevation, and that both FEMA and the private sector offer affordable policies. If you have an FHA loan, only FEMA policies are accepted.

“If you are in one of those lower flood zones or an X zone, the cost of the policy itself is less than 550 a year for the maximum amount of coverage.”

It’s a price Agle is happy to pay.

“A couple of bucks a day is about what we spent on flood insurance and if your house is not worth a couple bucks a day, then maybe you shouldn’t be in Southwest Florida,” he said.

Dellinger-Crep said to call your homeowner’s insurance carrier to see if you can add flood insurance, which may save you some money.

Tower Hill, Edison, and American Integrity offer that option, she said.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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