KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One of the most important things Missouri residents can do to protect their homes, businesses and personal property is to buy flood insurance, according to state and federal disaster recovery officials.
Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster. FEMA statistics report that homeowners have a 26 percent chance of flood-related losses and only a 9 percent chance of fire-related losses in the life of a 30-year mortgage.
"Flood damage is not covered by homeowner's insurance," said State Coordinating Officer Ron A. Reynolds. "Flood insurance must be purchased in addition to homeowner's insurance, with separate policies for structures and contents. Compared to typical disaster recovery costs, flood insurance is a bargain."
To find out their flood risk, residents may log onto www.floodsmart.gov. This web site enables anyone to assess flood vulnerabilities, approximate costs for structure and contents insurance, and find nearby agents who sell NFIP policies.
"It's not just high risk areas that flood," said Federal Coordinating Officer Lee Rosenberg of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Between 20 and 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from medium or low flood-risk areas and flood insurance may cover damage even when there is no federal disaster declaration."
"Time after time in flooding events, citizens are unable to recover fully because they were not properly insured. Assess your vulnerabilities and take steps to protect your house and its contents," Rosenberg said.
Flood insurance policies do not take effect until 30 days after purchase, so it's important to buy coverage immediately, before the start of the next round of storms. There is no waiting period if a policy is purchased at a mortgage closing.
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.