Seattle, Wash. -- November traditionally heralds the onslaught of the rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest. November unleashed some of this century's worst recorded flooding in Western Washington and Oregon in the '70's, again in 1990, unleashed back-to-back winter storm declarations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington in 1996, and staged a repeat in 1997. But regardless of whether or not this November's rains trigger "landmark" floods, the difference between disaster and annoyance is often a few hundred dollars-worth of mitigation, and a solid dose of flood insurance. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regional director David L. de Courcy advises property owners and renters to take action before the rains start!
"Localized flooding can occur within hours of heavy rain, and our smaller urban watercourses and creeks can pack more surprises when it comes to flooding than large floodplains associated with ocean or river frontage," said de Courcy. "You don't have to live in a floodplain to need flood insurance. But there is a 30 day waiting period between purchase date and policy effective date, so to be ready for this year's flood season, act now."
Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) administrator Jo Ann Howard concurs. "Most floods in the U.S. are too small to qualify for federal assistance, but collectively they still cause millions of dollars in property damage. Flood insurance claims are paid even if a disaster is not declared by the President," said Howard. "Standard Flood Insurance Policies provide Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage for structures that have been substantially damaged. Structures at particular risk from flooding can be elevated, relocated or demolished using Standard Flood Insurance ICC coverage."
According to Howard, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) meshes well with the Administration's new Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities initiative. "Project Impact partners local communities and local businesses with state and federal agencies to take action before disaster strikes, to break the disaster-recovery-disaster cycle," said Howard. "NFIP-member communities operate much the same way, managing floodplains together, to sequentially reduce repetitive flood damage."
Free copies of FEMA's 63-page booklet: "Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program" are available by calling toll-free: 1-800-480-2520.