HARRISBURG, Pa. -- After a flooding event, misconceptions abound about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The following responses address common NFIP myths, and more information is found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) website, www.fema.gov. Just follow the icons to the NFIP flood insurance publications for consumers.
Myth: You can't buy flood insurance if you're in a high-flood-risk area.
Fact: You can buy National Flood Insurance no matter where you live, provided your community participates in the NFIP.
Myth: You can't buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood.
Fact: You can buy National Flood Insurance anytime - but the policy isn't effective until a 30-day waiting period after the first premium payment. However, this 30-day waiting period can be waived if the policy was purchased within 13 months of a flood map revision. If the initial flood insurance purchase was made during this 13-month period, then there is only a one-day waiting period. This one-day provision only applies when the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is revised to show the building is now in a high-flood-risk area.
Myth: Homeowners insurance policies cover flooding.
Fact: Most home and business multi-peril policies do not cover flooding. Homeowners can include personal property coverage in their NFIP policy, and residential and commercial renters can purchase flood coverage for their contents. Business owners can buy flood insurance coverage for their buildings, inventory and contents.
Myth: You can't buy flood insurance if your property has been flooded.
Fact: You're still eligible to purchase flood insurance after your home, apartment, or business has been flooded - provided your community is in the NFIP.
Myth: Only people living in high-flood-risk areas need to insure their property.
Fact: All areas are susceptible to flooding. Nearly 25 percent of the NFIP claims come from outside high-flood-risk areas.
Myth: National Flood Insurance can only be purchased through the NFIP directly.
Fact: NFIP flood insurance is sold through private insurance companies and agents. The federal government backs it.
Myth: The NFIP does not offer any type of basement coverage.
Fact: Yes, it does. A basement, as defined by NFIP, is any building area with a floor below ground level on all sides. Basement improvements - finished walls, floors or ceilings - are not covered by flood insurance; nor are personal belongings, like furniture and other contents. But flood insurance does cover structural elements and essential equipment, provided it is connected to a power source (if required) and installed in its functioning location.
Items protected under "building coverage" include the following: sump pumps, well-water tanks and pumps, cisterns and the water inside, oil tanks and the oil inside, natural gas tanks and the gas inside, pumps or tanks used with solar energy, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps, electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes (and their utility connections), foundation elements, stairways, staircases, elevators, dumbwaiters, unpainted drywall walls and ceilings (including fiberglass insulation), and cleanup expenses. Protected under "content coverage" are: clothes washers and dryers, as well as food freezers and the food inside them.
The NFIP recommends both building and content coverage be purchased for the broadest protection.
Pennsylvania Disaster News Releases are available on the web at www.fema.gov/news/eventnews.fema?...