Record snowfall totals and tornados mark the wild weather we have seen in the US so far this year…and now, massive flooding in the Midwest of record proportions (going back 75 years). But can flooding of this magnitude happen here in Long Island NY? We know from history that it can.

Gloria was the last major hurricane to hit the coastal Long Island New York region back in 1985. Prior to that, it was hurricane Donna in 1960. There were other named storms that hit the LI NY area prior to Donna as well…including the great “Long Island Hurricane” of 1821. That storm center hit Jamaica Bay and, if you can imagine this, flooded Manhattan Island from Battery Park all the way up to Canal Street! Statistically, we’re due for a named storm in our area and if you recall, hurricane Earl (a monster storm) came dangerously close to hitting us in the summer of 2010.

Hurricane Gloria caused $900 million in damage (equal to $1.84 billion in 2011). Although most of the damage came from her winds, still, many homes along the south shore of eastern Long Island were lost. Luckily when Gloria made landfall on Long Island, we were experiencing low tide. Had it been high tide, hundreds of additional homes would have been lost due to flooding.

But it’s not just hurricane exposures we have. As most Long Islander’s know, Nor’easters (and often powerful ones) also strike our area…and far more often than hurricanes. Most commonly seen in winter months, Nor’easters are storms unique to our area due to how they formed and where they strike. They are formed by the convergence of two storms (one that approaches from the Midwest or southern Canada, and one that moves up along the Gulf Stream). They converge right along (or just off of) our coastline and become very powerful. Flooding almost always occurs from these storms and many homes suffer great damage or total losses as a result…especially along the south shore of Long Island.

So what does this all mean for us? Well for starters, you have to remember that Long Island homeowners insurance DOES NOT cover losses due to flooding. Only a flood policy protects you from this peril. It has a maximum coverage limit of $250,000 for residential property, and $500,000 for business property. Flood policies are written by government insurers (FEMA) but are brokered by private insurance professionals.

When you consider the affordability of a flood policy compared to potential losses, it makes perfect sense to supplement your homeowners insurance policy with a flood policy. For more information about flood insurance on Long Island, talk to your insurance professional today.