Urbandale- IA -- Buying a national flood insurance policy is the first line of defense against economic losses caused by spring flooding. Anyone can buy flood insurance if his or her community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Also, you don't have to be in a high-risk area to buy flood insurance. In fact, 25 percent of damages occur outside of high-risk areas.
Year in and year out, flooding is the leading cause of property loss from natural disasters in this country. But all too often, people learn, after the fact, that protection against flood loss is not part of their normal homeowner's insurance policy. Flood insurance will pay, with or without a declaration.
Even in a declared disaster, a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration is the primary form of recovery assistance for homeowners, renters and businesses. The yearly premium for a flood insurance policy is cheaper than the monthly payment for a loan.
Important features of the National Flood Insurance Program are:
- Homeowners, renters and business owners can call the National Flood Insurance Program, toll-free, at 1-800-427-4661 or go to www.floodsmart.gov for the name of local agents who handle flood insurance.
- Most everyone can, and should, have flood insurance. Even if you don't live in a high-risk flood zone, you can purchase flood insurance if your community participates in the NFIP. Anyone can be flooded. More than 90 percent of all presidential declared disasters include flooding.
- Flood damage is not covered by homeowners' insurance policies. You can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance. Flood insurance can be purchased through your local insurance agent. The NFIP is sold through private insurance companies and is backed by the federal government.
- You can insure your home for up to $250,000 for the building of which $100,000 is allowed for the contents. If you are a business owner, the maximum is $500,000 on the building and another $500,000 on contents.
- Contents coverage is separate. It is not automatically included with building coverage. Ask your agent. Renters can insure their belongings, too.
- Flood insurance pays even when no disaster is declared. Statistically, federal disaster declarations are issued in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents. An NFIP policy will pay for flood damage whether or not there is a federal disaster declaration.
- Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $300 a year for about $100,000 of coverage.
- You can purchase flood coverage at any time, but there is usually a 30-day waiting period after you have applied and paid the premium before the policy becomes effective.
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.