Philadelphia, PA -- In the aftermath of the Tropical Storm Allison flooding, commonwealth and federal officials are reminding homeowners throughout Pennsylvania that they may purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
"Flooding is the leading cause of property loss from natural disasters in this country," said Pete Martinasco, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), "and Pennsylvania has suffered more than its share of devastating floods in recent years."
"Many people don't realize that their normal homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage," said Karen Critchfield, Pennsylvania commonwealth coordinating officer. " In view of the recent flooding we urge homeowners, renters and businesses to re-evaluate their insurance coverage and consider purchasing flood insurance."
Flood insurance is available to residents and businesses of communities that have agreed to adopt and enforce floodplain management practices to reduce future flood damage. Separate policies for contents of a home are also available for both homeowners and renters. Flood insurance is also available to communities in areas of low or moderate flood risk. Fortunately, most Pennsylvania communities participate in this program.
Coverage is not only for homeowners. Businesses may apply for coverage to buildings and their contents, including equipment. If you have a home business, a separate NFIP policy is available.
The National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 requires homeowners in participating communities who have received disaster assistance grants to purchase and maintain flood insurance for the life of the property. Otherwise, they will not be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance in the future. If the property is sold, the seller must inform the buyer of the requirement to maintain flood insurance coverage. Persons who obtain federally guaranteed loans (SBA, FDIC, VA, etc.) must purchase and maintain flood insurance for the life of those loans.
Rates are non-competitive and the average policy cost is a little more than $300.00 per year for $100,000 of coverage. Persons who can't find an agent who represents NFIP may call NFIP's toll-free number 1-800-427-4661 and they will direct you to agents in your area.
Insurance agents in Pennsylvania who are licensed to sell property and casualty insurance are required to sell flood insurance. Licensed agents who refuse to sell flood insurance should be reported to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department's Consumer Hotline 877-881-6388.