Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- As the recovery from June flash floods continues, state and federal disaster officials are urging Iowa residents to purchase flood insurance before the next flood.
"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 Iowa has suffered more than its share of devastating floods in recent years."
Iowa is one of the most flood-damaged states in the country. Recent heavy rains across the state have created problems in homes and businesses away from the rivers and streams that are more prone to flooding. People outside the flood plain are finding water in their homes and basements. The causes of this flooding includes poor drainage, ground saturation, inundated septic systems, dam and levee breaks, all aggravated by heavy rain.
Many people are unaware that their ordinary homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the only way for most people to buy flood insurance to protect their business, homes and personal property from the financial ruin brought on by flooding. Nearly every commercial, homeowners or renters policy throughout the United States specifically excludes coverage for damage by "rising water."
"You don't have to live in a floodplain to need flood insurance. In fact, 25 percent of all claims are for properties located outside of designated flood hazard areas," said Steve Zimmerman, Iowa State Coordinating Officer. "We strongly urge uninsured homeowners, renters and businesses to consider purchasing flood insurance."
There is a 26 percent chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage compared to a 4 percent chance of fire.
Flood insurance is available, regardless of where you live, as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Coverage is not only for homeowners. Businesses may apply for coverage to buildings and their contents, including equipment. Separate policies are available for contents of a residence for both homeowners and renters. A policy is also available for persons with a home business.
Disaster officials recommend purchasing flood insurance whether your risk is high, medium or low. The average premium is about a dollar a day, $300.00 per year for $100,000 of coverage in the floodplain.
Insurance agents in Iowa who are licensed to sell property and casualty insurance can also sell flood insurance. Persons who can't find an agent who will sell them flood insurance may call NFIP's toll-free number 1-800-427-4661 and they will direct you to agents in your area. Licensed agents are encouraged to sell flood insurance.