Ask Andy: Flood insurance

(WMC TV) - Based on the e-mails I'm getting, some of your agents have told you that you don't qualify for flood insurance because you don't live in a "flood zone."

According to the folks at FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, 25 percent of all flood claims occur in moderate-to-low risk flood areas, including some of the areas in the Mid-South that flooded last year, like Millington and Tipton County, TN.

You should know that even if you are not in a government-declared flood zone, you could be eligible for government-backed flood insurance sold directly through an insurance agent.

First, click here to link to the NFIP's web page for the basics on flood insurance policies and the NFIP's risk calculator:

Look for the "One-Step Flood Risk Profile" calculator on the right side of the page. Type in your address, and it will rate your risk, estimate your premiums and even connect you with agents who sell the government-backed policies.

You can also see what preferred risk and standard risk flood policies cover here:

Get a broad idea of premium rates here:

The NFIP said moderate to low risk consumers may qualify for a preferred risk policy. Premiums for that policy start as low as $119 a year. But there are separate deductibles for building losses and content losses. You should also expect a 30-day waiting period from the date you apply before a preferred risk policy can take effect.

Depending on your risk profile, you may be required to buy what's called an elevation certificate. The certificate proves the elevation of your house's lowest floor relative to the ground. It's typically only necessary for higher flood risk areas.

If your home is in a high-flood risk area, and you have a federally-insured mortgage, you are required by law to have flood insurance. Ask your agent.

By the way, if your auto policy includes comprehensive coverage, it should cover any flood damage to your vehicle.

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