St. Paul, MN -- Even as the flood waters rose across the state this spring, and thousands worked side by side in river communities in flood--fighting efforts, some Minnesotans could feel a sense of security that the losses they might suffer from the rising waters would be covered. Flood insurance provided that assurance for more than 8,000 policy holders throughout the state of Minnesota. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers this important insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Victims of the 2001 floods who carry flood insurance could file their claims immediately, without having to wait for the disaster declaration to receive help in recovering from flooding. Insured homeowners, renters and business owners began receiving checks less than 45 days after the floods. The policies covered the cost of sandbagging their homes (up to $750) and moving their personal property from their homes (up to $500).
Flood insurance is not only for people who live near water. As the people in Benton County experienced this year, floods can move and spread for miles. Flash floods can begin and end within just hours, cutting a path of major destruction. More than 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from medium-- or low--risk flood areas.
"Now is the time to buy flood insurance and most flood insurance policy premiums are affordable," NFIP specialist Sujata Banerjee said. "Flood insurance policies are available to communities and counties. To participate in the NFIP, a community needs to adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new development in Special Flood Hazard areas."
For people living outside the floodplain, premiums for maximum coverage ($250,000 for homes and up to $100,000 for contents) cost less than $1 a day. Small business structures are covered for up to $500,000 and their contents for a maximum of $500,000.
There is a 30--day waiting period for new policies to take effect, but there is no moratorium on the purchase of flood insurance. Policies are available for homeowners, businesses and renters.
The average annual premium for the 8,019 Minnesota residents who have flood insurance is $458 a year. The minimum deductibles are either $500 or $750 depending on the flood zone and year the structure was constructed
Even if you have been flooded previously, as long as your community is participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) you can obtain flood insurance. Limited basement coverage is available too.
For more information about flood insurance, call the NFIP at 1 800 611--6123 or contact your local insurance company.