ORLANDO, Fla. -- Everyone in Florida lives in a flood zone; they just don't know it. Or, perhaps, they think a low-risk area is a no-risk area.
However, for those who live in a low- to moderate-risk area, outside of the 100-year floodplain, signing up for an inexpensive Preferred Risk Policy under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a wise precaution. Flood damage is not covered under homeowner's insurance, and there is no guarantee that federal disaster assistance will be available if and when a flood occurs.
NFIP's Preferred Risk rates are as low as $112 per year for buildings without basements. A home can be covered for up to $250,000 for the dwelling and $100,000 for contents. Replacement cost coverage is available for single-family, primary residences. Renters and business owners are also eligible for Preferred Risk Flood Insurance.
If you are unsure whether your home or business is in a flood zone, contact your local emergency manager.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the Preferred Risk Policy under NFIP, reminds residents flood insurance is important because floods can occur where they are least expected. Approximately 25 percent of all claims paid by the NFIP are for policies in low- or moderate-risk communities.
The special Preferred Risk Policy is available for buildings housing one to four families and non-residential properties. Other insurance is offered at regular rates for buildings in higher risk areas and other types of properties. The Preferred Risk Policy cannot be issued if a property owner has received:
- Two flood loss payments of more than $1,000 each;
- Three or more loss payments of any amount;
- Two Federal Disaster Relief payments of more than $1,000 each;
- Three Federal Disaster Relief payments of any amount; or
- One flood insurance claim payment and one disaster relief payment of more than $1,000 each, including loans and grants.
Considering the substantial costs involved in repairing a home that suffers flood damage, and of replacing valuable and treasured items, the Preferred Risk Policy can be a good purchase for property owners. For more information, call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-888-379-9531 or visit the NFIP Internet site at www.floodsmart.gov.
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.