Weston: Beware high-risk homes that drive up insurance

Flood risk is also a concern, Naughton says. Flooding isn’t covered by regular homeowners insurance policies, and typically only homes in the highest-risk zones are required by mortgage lenders to buy special flood policies. But the federal government’s flood maps may understate the risk to many properties, especially as hurricanes get stronger and bring intense rainfall along with larger storm surges.

“We’re seeing coastal flooding that’s going in quite a bit,” Naughton says. “People who previously didn’t consider flood insurance should because of the rain aspect as well as the surges.”

Again, talking to the neighbors and a local insurance agent can help you assess the potential costs. You can get quotes for flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program as well as a few private insurers.

EARTH-SHAKING RISKS

The U.S. Geological Survey says 16 states are at high risk for a damaging earthquake in the next half-century: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Earthquakes are another hazard excluded from homeowners policies, although some private insurers offer earthquake policies, and people in the Golden State can buy coverage from the California Earthquake Authority. Deductibles range from 5% to 25% of the policy limit.

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