Hurricane Irene: Newark lags other major East Coast cities in flood insurance coverage
In terms of flood insurance, Newark, N.J., is the least prepared major city in the path of Hurricane Irene, an InsuranceQuotes.com review of federal statistics shows, while Charleston, S.C., is the most prepared major city.
When it comes to flood insurance, No. 2 among the least prepared major cities is Boston. Newport News, Va., came in second place among the most prepared major cities.
|Newark is the largest city in New Jersey.|
The flood insurance rates for major cities that could be affected by Irene were calculated by taking the number of flood insurance policies in effect as of June 30, 2011, and dividing by the number of households. Flood insurance policies are for residential and commercial property. Figures are for each city only, not an entire metropolitan area.
Newark’s flood insurance rate is 0.0018056 per household, based on 165 policies in effect as of June 30, 2011, and 91,382 households. Charleston’s flood insurance rate is .05408791, based on 22,063 policies and 40,791 households. Policy figures came from the National Flood Insurance Program; household figures for the year 2000 came from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Not surprisingly, the InsuranceQuotes.com review showed New York City has the highest dollar amount for the insured value of property covered by flood insurance — more than $8.6 billion as of June 30, 2011. Newark has the lowest amount: nearly $66.5 million.
The level of an area’s flood insurance coverage is critical in hurricanes. Why? In all but the most hurricane-prone areas, wind damage caused by a hurricane typically is covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. However, flood damage triggered by a hurricane is not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy.
Irene has the capacity to do significant flood damage. The National Hurricane Center’s Storm Surge Risk Map is an interactive tool that allows those in coastal areas to see how bad flooding could be for hurricanes in different categories.
Protecting a home or other property against flood damage requires separate flood coverage; most Americans must buy flood insurance through the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program. Few private companies sell flood insurance.
Here are the number of flood insurance policies in place (as of June 30, 2011) for major cities in the path of Hurricane Irene, the number of households in each city, the flood insurance rate for each city and the insured value of property covered by flood insurance in each city.
The cities are listed from the least amount of flood insurance per household to the most.
Flood insurance policies: 165
Flood insurance rate: 0.0018056
Property value: $66,480,400
Flood insurance policies: 804
Flood insurance rate: 0.0033566
Property value: $188,471,000
Flood insurance policies: 3,717
Flood insurance rate: 0.0062992
Property value: $840,443,600
Flood insurance policies: 459 policies
Flood insurance rate: 0.007357
Property value: $122,643,500
Flood insurance policies: 1,854
Flood insurance rate: 0.0073946
Property value: $319,279,300
Flood insurance policies: 274
Flood insurance rate: 0.0092212
Property value: $71,892,500
Flood insurance policies: 2,587
Flood insurance rate: 0.0100272
Property value: $645,896,200
Flood insurance policies: 2,570
Flood insurance rate: 0.0119285
Property value: $584,469,800
Flood insurance policies: 943
Flood insurance rate: 0.0125765
Property value: $217,220,500
New York City
Flood insurance policies: 37,906
Flood insurance rate: 0.012445
Property value: $8,612,500,200
Flood insurance policies: 12,234
Flood insurance rate: 0.1419092
Property value: $2,994,505,700
Virginia Beach, Va.
Flood insurance policies: 25,129
Flood insurance rate: 0.1626946
Property value: $6,351,566,800
Flood insurance policies: 1,905
Flood insurance rate: 0.016917
Property value: $484,704,100
New Haven, Conn.
Flood insurance policies: 858
Flood insurance rate: 0.0182188
Property value: $189,403,000
Flood insurance policies: 1,607
Flood insurance rate: 0.0319438
Property value: $243,280,500
Flood insurance policies: 977
Flood insurance rate: 0.0341405
Property value: $219,508,000
Newport News, Va.
Flood insurance policies: 2,616
Flood insurance rate: 0.0375398
Property value: $606,230,900
Jersey City, N.J.
Flood insurance policies: 6,318
Flood insurance rate: 0.0712835
Property value: $1,394,000,900
Flood insurance policies: 22,063
Flood insurance rate: 0.5408791
Property value: $5,444,679,200