Flood Insurance 101

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the nation’s most common natural disaster. Twenty percent of flood claims are filed by people living in moderate- or low-risk areas. Floodwaters have the power to damage not only your home and sense of security, but also your financial future.

While some regions, such as coastal areas, are more flood-prone than others, the unpredictability of climate change exposes all property to some risk. And torrential rainfall isn’t the only culprit.  Mudflows, rapid snowmelt during spring and ice jams during winter also cause flooding. Even an inch of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Flood insurance provides the protection you need to cover losses after a flood ravages your property. The cost of premiums vary based on the amount of coverage you need, what’s covered and your property’s flood risk.

What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared?

Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history; it is also based on a number of factors including rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development.

Flood-hazard maps have been created to show the flood risk for your community. This helps determine the type of flood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium.

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover damages from flooding. A separate flood policy is needed to cover losses to your property caused by flooding, including:

  • Structural damage
  • Furnace, water heater and air conditioner
  • Flood debris clean up
  • Floor surfaces (carpeting and tile)

Being aware of flood risks can help protect your home:

  • Visit the www.fema.gov website for flood risk information in your area.
  • If it has been raining hard for several hours or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.

Take the following steps once a flood watch has been issued:

  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
  • Gather emergency supplies, including food and water.
  • Tune your radio to weather updates, disaster directions and signals.
  • If you must evacuate, take only essential items with you.
  • Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.  Do not drive around barricades. They are there for your safety.

Once flooding has occurred, consider the strategies below:

  • Throw away food that is not safe to eat and use bottled water until the local authorities have determined that tap water is safe for drinking and cooking.
  • Avoid flood water and protect yourself from mosquitoes to avoid contracting any diseases.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings and structures.
  • Do not touch fallen power lines or turn on your power until instructed by a qualified electrician.
  • Wear protective clothing when handling hazardous materials or cleaning up mold.
  • Clean up flood damage promptly.

We can assist you in determining your flood risk and coverage options. New flood insurance policies usually have a 30-day waiting period, so don’t delay in protecting one of your most valuable assets—your home. Learn more and get your own Flood Insurance quote here.

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