PASADENA, Calif. -- The recent winter rains are an urgent reminder to Californians living in flood-threatened areas that they can reduce future financial losses from flooding by buying flood insurance.
"Many residents are unaware that their homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage," said Mark Neveau, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Flooding is the most common and most costly type of natural disaster in the United States. Having flood insurance coverage can make a huge difference when facing the need to make repairs and replace items following a flood."
Managed by FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance and reduce the ever-rising costs of rebuilding. Flood insurance is a prudent and affordable first step for any home or business owner and also is available to renters.
"FEMA can only offer financial aid to residents in the event of a presidential disaster declaration," notes Tom Maruyama, deputy state coordinating officer. "However, most floods are not extensive enough to warrant such as a declaration. An NFIP flood policy pays off whether there is a declaration or not."
Insuring your property can be relatively inexpensive compared to the massive cost of reconstruction following a flood. Residents can buy flood insurance from their local insurance agent as long as they live in a participating NFIP community. It is wise to purchase enough coverage to replace property than to merely buy enough insurance to cover a mortgage. While flood insurance can be purchased at any time, there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective.
FEMA is nearing the end of an aggressive five-year effort to modernize the nation's flood maps. Digital maps now describe flood hazards for more than 46 percent of the U.S. population. Rates are designed to make flood insurance as affordable as possible, following Congressional intent when the program was first created in 1968.
For more information about NFIP call 1-888-379-9531 or online at www.floodsmart.gov to learn flood risk information for a specific address.
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.