GLEN ALLEN, Va. -- The difficult weather conditions Virginians are seeing lately must raise lots of questions in the minds of home and business owners. For example, is my home at risk for flooding? Where can I find an insurance agent who will sell me flood insurance? What items in my home might be damaged if it’s flooded? Would a small amount of flooding be costly to recover from? Doesn’t my home insurance policy cover damage from flooding?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) answers these and many other flood-related questions at its Web site www.floodsmart.gov. Floodsmart is the official Web site of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by FEMA.
“A visit to floodsmart.gov can help residents and business owners learn about the type of flood insurance policy that best suits their needs,” said Gracia Szczech, federal coordinating officer for recovery operations.
“The site offers a goldmine of resources for home and business owners.”
On the site you can:
- Enter your address into a form and find out how likely your home or business is to flood;
- Find local agents who sell flood insurance; and
- Estimate your flood insurance premiums.
It is important for individuals to get the facts about flood insurance today as soon as possible because there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy become effective.
Here are some interesting facts: Floods are the most common type of natural disaster. For homes in floodplains, there is a nine percent chance of fire-related losses in the life of a 30-year mortgage, but an astounding 26 percent chance of flood related losses. Approximately one quarter of all flood insurance claims paid by the NFIP are in low- to moderate-risk communities. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
Both residence and business owners may purchase insurance for building only, contents only or a combination of the two. Flood insurance may not cover all flood-related losses but it should be a property owner’s first line of defense when flooding occurs.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.