ANDOVER, Mass. -- The Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, R. David Paulison, urges Americans to prepare their homes and businesses for the flood risks associated with what has already been a very active storm season. Flood insurance is a critical investment to help protect against the devastating effects of flooding, and the time to act is now.
Individuals can learn more about flood insurance flood risk by visiting www.FloodSmart.gov or calling 1-800-427-2419. There is typically a 30-day wait before a policy takes effect.
Scientists predict that warmer waters in the Atlantic will continue to cause even stronger hurricanes, and that those storms will likely affect not only the Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic areas, but states in the Northeast and Midwest, as well. In 2006 alone, flooding caused by severe storms and heavy rains has already caused damage to approximately 16,000 households throughout New England.
“Natural disasters are unpredictable but everyone can take precautions to lessen their vulnerability to flooding,” said Paulison. “One of the most important lessons learned from the 2004 and 2005 Hurricane Seasons is that homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage caused by floods – a flood insurance policy is the only way to financially protect your property.”
“Floodwaters do not stop at coastlines and floodplain boundaries; everyone is at risk. It is important to protect your property no matter where you live,” said David Maurstad, Federal Flood Insurance Administrator and Director of FEMA’s Mitigation Division. “However, all homeowners, renters, and businesses located in the Nation’s high-risk areas, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas, simply must be insured against flood.”
Flood insurance is affordable and available through nearly 100 insurance companies in more than 21,000 participating communities nationwide. Everyone can purchase flood insurance – renters, business owners, and homeowners. The average flood insurance policy is around $500 a year. And in low- to moderate-risk areas, homeowners can protect their properties with lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) that start at just $112 a year.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.