CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Nobody can stop a flood. Nobody can erase the bad memories and financial loss. But having flood insurance can go a long way toward putting the pieces back together.
That is the message that state and federal disaster recovery officials are sending to residents of 10 Iowa counties in the aftermath of the severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes of May 16. Officials are urging homeowners and renters to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Floods are caused by many events: storms, melting snow, or dam or levee failure. Everyone needs flood insurance.
Important features of the National Flood Insurance Program are:
- Everyone can, and should, have flood insurance. Even if you don't live in a designated flood zone you can purchase flood insurance if your community participates in the NFIP. Anyone can get flooded, and anyone can get flood insurance. More than 90 percent of all Presidentially-declared disasters include flooding.
- Flood damage is not covered by homeowner's insurance policies. You can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance. You can insure your home for up to $250,000 for the building and up to $100,000 for the contents.
- Contents coverage is separate. It is not automatically included with building coverage. Ask your agent. Renters can insure their belongings, too.
- Flood insurance pays even when no disaster is declared. Statistically, federal disaster declarations are issued in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents. An NFIP policy will pay for flood damage whether or not there is a federal disaster declaration.
- Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $300 a year for about $100,000 of coverage.
- There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy becomes effective. You can purchase flood coverage at any time, but there is a 30-day waiting period after you have applied and paid the premium before the policy becomes effective.
- Flood insurance is available through your insurance agent. NFIP flood insurance is sold through private insurance companies and agents, and is backed by the federal government.
- For complete information, call the National Flood Insurance Program toll free at 1-800-720-1090.