The ins and outs of flood insurance

As Hurricane Michael bears down on the Florida Panhandle, people are being warned about the storm surge. We are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence because flood waters are still causing damage. Every time this happens we wonder if perhaps we need flood insurance.

We are going to cover two things. First, flood insurance, even if you want it, is not available to everybody. Second, if you do have it, you're often under-insured.

Let's start here: Can you get coverage? Well, your home, business or renter's insurance plan doesn't usually cover that, but you can ask your insurance agent to connect you with the program that does. According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you get flood insurance through a program that they back. It's called the National Flood Insurance Program. And it's only available to participating communities: CHECK OUT YOUR COMMUNITY HERE.

Now if you do want flood insurance and you qualify, too often we are under-insured. Jan Tripp, the president of Members Insurance Advisors, gives us a few reasons.

After a renovation, you might forget to raise your policy limits. Also, after a natural disaster, building materials and the cost of a contractor go up. Did you know that your deductible can be higher if the damage is caused by a hurricane or other natural disaster?

And here's another quick list. Do the math. Calculate how much per square foot your house is insured for and compare it to re-building costs in your area. Get appraisals. If you have valuable possessions, make sure they're on the record what they're worth. Consider new building codes. That porch you have now may not be up to code if a new one is needed. And that'll cost more money.

So, do some research, spending this money might not be necessary for you. But if it is, you want to know everything about it.