ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska has had four major flooding events in two years. Flooding is by far the most common type of natural disaster. It is not just high risk areas that flood.
“Between 20 and 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from medium or low flood risk areas,” said Mitigation Officer Terry Scanland, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “There is a nine percent chance of fire-related losses in the life of a 30-year mortgage, but a 26 percent chance of flood-related losses.”
One of the most important first steps homeowners, business owners and renters can take to protect against major financial loss due to flooding is to buy flood insurance.
“Time after time in flooding events, residents suffer undue financial loss because they are not properly insured,” said Alaska Floodplain Manager Christy Miller. “It’s just a good idea to assess your vulnerability to flooding and take appropriate steps to safeguard against major financial loss.”
An important fact about insurance policies is that flood damage is not covered by traditional homeowner’s insurance. Flood insurance must be bought separately, with separate policies for structures and contents. Flood policies do not take effect until 30 days after purchase, so it is important to buy coverage now, before the next flood event. There is no waiting period if a policy is purchased at a mortgage closing.
Flood insurance is offered through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP was created in 1968 to provide flood insurance at a reasonable cost. City and Borough governments must choose to participate in the NFIP in order for its residents to get flood insurance. Flood insurance is not available in Alaska’s Unorganized Borough.
In Alaska, NFIP participating communities where flood insurance is available include: Anchorage, Aniak, Bethel, Cordova, Delta Junction, Dillingham, Emmonak, Fairbanks, North Star Borough, Fort Yukon, Galena, Haines, Homer, Hoonah, Juneau, Kenai Peninsula Borough (note: flood insurance note available with city limits of Soldotna and Kenai), Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Kotzebue, Koyukuk, Kwethluk, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, McGrath, Nenana, Nome, Northwest Arctic Borough, Petersburg, Shismaref, Sitka, Skagway, Togiak, and Valdez.
For more information on flood insurance cost and to find agents who sell NFIP policies, visit FEMA’s Floodsmart Web site at www.floodsmart.gov or the State of Alaska’s Web site at www.commerce.state.ak.us.
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.