Baton Rouge, LA -- Anyone can be flooded. You may think you are above the high water mark, but flash floods can occur at almost any elevation. Spring rains, heavy thunderstorms, and tropical storms-each can cause serious flooding, even in areas that are normally high and dry.
If your property was damaged by Tropical Storm Allison, even if you have homeowner's insurance, you should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by calling toll-free 1-800-462-9029; for the hearing- or speech-impaired the number is 1-800-462-7585. The numbers are operational 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, until further notice.
Many homeowners, renters, and business owners may not be aware that the cost of repairing or rebuilding their flood-damaged property may not be covered by their current insurance policies. Normal homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods.
As Louisiana residents plan their recovery from flood damages, they should then look into purchasing flood insurance policies to cover their structures and contents in future floods. Individuals and business owners can protect themselves from future flood losses by purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP provides flood insurance at a reasonable cost in exchange for careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities.
As long as your community participates in the NFIP you can obtain flood insurance. You must contact your local government officials first to determine whether your community participates in NFIP. You can also find a list of participating communities on the Internet at www.fema.gov/nfip. If your community does, you can buy flood insurance.
Next, contact your insurance agent and tell them you would like more information about flood insurance. They should be able to tell you what is covered and how much your policy will cost. Unlike homeowner's insurance, you must purchase building coverage and contents coverage separately. Buying a policy on your structure will not automatically cover your furniture and personal property.
There is a 30-day waiting period for new policies to take effect. Don't wait for the rains to start before you buy flood insurance.