SEATTLE, Wash. -- As the rainy season approaches, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are encouraging Pacific Northwest renters and property owners to procure financial protection from floodwaters through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Now is no time for procrastination! Unless you are in the process of closing on a home loan with mandated flood insurance (in which case the policy is effective the day the loan closes), there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage takes effect.
According to FEMA Acting Regional Director Tammy Doherty, informed homeowners buy flood insurance. "Flooding is the leading cause of property loss from natural disasters, and flood insurance is one of the most important things that people can do to help themselves recover from flood damage," said Doherty. "Flood damage is not covered by most homeowner's or business insurance policies."
Flood insurance is available to residents of communities that have agreed to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management practices, and according to Doherty, virtually every community in the Pacific Northwest qualifies. "By aggressively managing their floodplains, our local officials guarantee property-owner access to affordable flood insurance, while reducing future flood damage. National flood insurance is all about taking action before disaster strikes, and reinforces our nation-wide Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities initiative."
Doherty warned victims of previous floods who bought flood insurance to qualify for disaster assistance not to let their policies lapse, or they would be disqualified from future federal assistance.
Flood insurance covers structural elements and contents (purchased separately) for all insurable residential and non-residential buildings. Policies can be purchased from any licensed insurance agent or broker. Maximum coverage for single-family homes is $250,000 for the structure itself, and $100,000 for contents. Renters can also insure their personal belongings for up to $100,000. Businesses can insure buildings for up to $500,000 for the structure and contents for up to $500,000.
The NFIP is self-supporting, with all claims and operating expenses paid from policyholder premiums, not tax dollars. For more information about the NFIP, contact your insurance agent, or call toll free: 1-800-427-4661.