CORDELE, Ga. -- With the ever-present threat of tornadoes and severe storms in southwest Georgia, residents should not let their guard down against the possibility of flooding.
Now is a good time to purchase a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the primary source for flood insurance in the U.S. If your community participates in the NFIP, you can purchase flood insurance from a licensed private insurance company or independent property and casualty insurance agent in your state.
Only 13 years ago, tropical storm Alberto came ashore in the central Panhandle of Florida and moved slowly to the north, then northeast into Alabama. The remains of Alberto resulted in the worst natural disaster in Georgia’s history, and its drenching rainfall caused 31 fatalities in Georgia. Additionally, Alberto’s deluges resulted in nearly $500 million in damage, mostly due to crop or property damage.
During a 24-hour period, massive amounts of rain fell on southwest and west central Georgia. By the storm’s end, Albany recorded 24 inches. The largest amount measured – 27.85 inches – was recorded three miles southwest of Americus.
The Flint River rose to its highest recorded level ever, reaching several miles or kilometers wide in some places, including Albany, while the Ocmulgee River flooded parts of Macon, shutting down part of Interstate 75. The Chattahoochee River also flooded, but not as badly due to flood-control dams on the stream.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas, even well outside and above the normal floodplains of the rivers. Among thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses, the campus of Albany State University was flooded up to the second floor.
So now is a good time to talk to your insurance agent if you have questions, would like additional information, and/or are ready to purchase a flood insurance policy. Your policy will take effect 30 days after your purchase.
If your insurance agent is unfamiliar with the NFIP or is not licensed to sell National Flood Insurance, you have several additional options:
- Find an agent serving your area;
- Find companies that participate in the NFIP and offer flood insurance in your area; and
- Contact the NFIP at (888) 379-9531 to request a referral.
What if flood insurance is required? If you buy a house in a designated high-risk area and receive a mortgage loan from a federally-regulated lender, by law your lender must require you to purchase and regularly renew flood insurance.
And remember, NFIP flood insurance is the best protection against the devastating financial losses that floods cause. More than 85,000 Georgia residents and business owners owned flood insurance as of Sept. 30, 2006.
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.