COLUMBUS, Ohio -- History shows that flooding has repeatedly taken its toll on Ohio communities. Over the last ten years, two-thirds of Ohio's 88 counties have been impacted by flooding in the ten Presidentially-declared flooding disasters in the state.
With spring's wet weather just around the corner, people can take steps now to lessen the impact of flooding. One of the ways to protect your home in future floods is to purchase flood insurance. This is the best means of recovery from flood damages.
Even if your home is not located in the floodplain, you can purchase flood insurance. In fact, more than 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from medium- or low-risk flood areas.
Flood insurance is available to any property owner located in a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In 1968, Congress created the NFIP to provide flood insurance at a reasonable cost in exchange for careful management by local communities of flood-prone areas. The Mitigation Division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages the NFIP and oversees the floodplain management and mapping components of the Program.
Flood insurance provides coverage that your homeowners or renters insurance doesn't - coverage for damages caused by floods. Homeowners, business owners and renters all can purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the NFIP.
You can buy flood insurance from any licensed insurance agent, or through NFIP by calling 1-800-427-4661.
Points to Remember
- Compared to a fire, people in floodplains are four times more likely to have a flood during their 30-year mortgage.
- There is a 30-day waiting period from the time the premium is paid until the time the policy becomes effective.
- Flood insurance coverage is available for residential and business structures and contents. A single-family home can be insured for up to $250,000. An additional $100,000 can be purchased for contents. Commercial buildings can be insured for up to $500,000. Business contents can be covered for up to $500,000.
- Renters can purchase contents coverage for up to $100,000 to cover personal belongings.
- A flood insurance policy reimburses you to certain limits for actions taken to prevent flood damages. These actions can include moving the insured contents to a safe place and/or the cost of purchasing sandbags, plastic sheeting, lumber, pumps, etc.
- Flood insurance claims are paid even if a federal disaster is not declared by the President. A flood insurance claim will reimburse you for your covered losses and never has to be repaid, unlike a disaster assistance loan.
- Flood insurance claims are handled quickly so that flood victims can recover quickly.
How to Purchase a Flood Insurance Policy
- First, contact your local government officials to determine whether your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If it does, you can buy flood insurance coverage. If it does not, you cannot buy coverage.
- Next, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP 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.
- The cost will be determined in part by whether you live in a floodplain, also known as Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Your local building official(s) should have maps showing if there are Special Flood Hazard Areas and where they are. You can determine whether you are in a low, medium or high-risk area by checking these maps.