EAST LANSING, Mich. -- As the recovery from the May storms continues, state and federal disaster officials are encouraging Michigan residents to purchase flood insurance to guard against financial loss in future floods.
“Flooding is the leading cause of property loss from natural disasters in this country,” said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “and one of the best ways to protect your property is by purchasing insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.”
Recurring flooding is a serious problem for many states and having flood insurance can give property owners peace of mind. But sadly, only 12 percent of Michigan residents had flood insurance policies at the time of the May storms.
Many residents are not aware that their homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage or loss. To meet this need, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance is available to homeowners, renters and businesses in participating Michigan cities, townships or villages. These communities agree to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management practices to reduce future flood damage. Those who want to know if their community participates in NFIP can call their local government officials.
“Living in the floodplain without flood insurance is like living in a wood frame building without fire insurance,” said F/Lt. Ralph J. Hobrat, state coordinating officer for the current recovery effort. “We strongly urge uninsured residents and businesses throughout the state to consider purchasing flood insurance.”
NFIP 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 homeowners and renters. Policy coverage is also available for individuals with a home business.
To get more information on NFIP, those interested can go online to www.floodsmart.gov and use this interactive Web site to see a property’s risk level. After entering the property address, you get information on whether the home or business is in the low to high risk level as well as a list of flood insurance agents in your area. The informative site also has flood facts and statistics along with frequently asked questions and answers about flood insurance.
More than 90 percent of floods in the U.S. are not declared disasters, and those victims must have flood insurance to recover losses. With a 26 percent chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a four percent chance of fire, it makes sense to purchase flood insurance.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.