San Francisco, Calif. -- People living in seven Nevada communities are paying less for flood insurance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The seven cities and counties have been given a Class 7, 8 or 9 community rating in the FEMA-operated National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). As a result, policyholders in high-risk areas will save 5 to 15 percent on the annual premium, depending on their community's rating. Policyholders in the lower-risk areas of these communities will receive 5 percent annual savings. An accompanying chart shows a sampling of dollar savings.
"We applaud these Nevada communities," said Martha Whetstone, regional director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "Thanks to the commitment of local floodplain managers, two major advantages are realized. First is the long-term benefit to the communities, in reducing future flood losses. Second is the annual financial benefit to residents, in lower insurance premium rates."
The rating system is limited to those communities that exceed minimum NFIP floodplain management standards. Credit points are assigned to a community's efforts in areas such as public information, mapping and regulation, damage reduction, and flood preparedness. A classification is then assigned, based upon the credit points. The classification determines the premium discount for policyholders, and discounts of up to 45% are possible.
"Of course, it doesn't matter whether your flood risk is high, medium or low," added Whetstone. "Getting flood insurance is the smart thing to do, because it's not just high-risk areas that are flooded. Between 25 and 30 percent of all flood insurance claims are paid to people living outside of the high-risk areas.
Now - before the rainy season - is the best time to buy insurance, Whetstone said, "so that you're not caught without coverage when a flood threatens your home or business."
NFIP policies are available through private insurance companies and agents. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.