Baton Rouge, LA -- Flood insurance protects your family finances from being destroyed along with your property if you are flooded. Flood insurance claims are paid even if the President does not declare a federal disaster.
Filing a claim will NOT adversely affect a policyholder's premiums or policy cancellation. Policies in effect before Tropical Storm Allison will maintain their stated costs and benefits for policyholders for the life of the policy.
An important step in recovering from flood damage is for policyholders to file their claims with their insurance agent immediately. Insurance can reimburse policyholders for emergency measures taken during the flood, as well as damaged personal property and repairs to covered buildings and businesses.
If a flood substantially damages your home or business, your community may require you to meet certain building standards before you repair or rebuild. To cover increased rebuilding costs to meet these standards, flood insurance policies all include "Increased Cost of Compliance" (ICC) coverage.
If your community officials inform you that your building was substantially damaged and you must conform to certain building requirements, contact your insurance agent a second time to file an ICC claim. Policyholders can get up to $20,000 to help pay the costs to bring their home or business into compliance with their community's floodplain ordinance.
Homeowners and business owners who do not have flood insurance should be aware that there is normally a 30-day waiting period for a policy to take effect. A policy purchased as a flood occurs will usually not cover the damages caused by that event.
Another important step for flood victims is to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by calling toll-free 1-800-462-9029. For the hearing- or speech-impaired the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585.
By registering with FEMA you may be eligible for a wide range of disaster assistance programs including housing assistance, such as alternate rental housing, emergency repairs to make a residence livable, and mortgage or rental assistance; low interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration; disaster unemployment assistance; and grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
Federal assistance is designed to help people recover from under-insured as well as uninsured disaster losses. But it can't duplicate payments from other sources. People who are fortunate enough to have flood insurance should work with their insurance agent and FEMA to get the most recovery assistance they can.