SEATTLE, Wash. -- For several weeks now, the Pacific Northwest has been in the icy grip of successive winter storms, and there's every sign that there is more to come. But current projections for rain have emergency managers nervously evaluating new potential for urban flooding. According to FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger, ice and snow, windfall and debris can restrict storm drains, and increase flood risk.
Pacific Northwesteners are pretty savvy when it comes to protecting themselves and their loved ones with flood insurance, and we've learned time and time again that you don't have to live in a mapped floodplain to need flood insurance," said Hunsinger. "But we do have a highly mobile population, and it's important for homeowners and renters who are experiencing their first flood season to know that conventional homeowner policies do not cover flood damage. The good news is that coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available from the same agent you bought your home policy from."
Flood insurance covers structural elements and contents (purchased separately) for all insurable residential and non-residential buildings. Policies can be purchased from any licensed insurance agent or broker. Maximum coverage for single-family homes is $250,000 for the structure itself, and $100,000 for contents. Renters can also insure their personal belongings for up to $100,000. Businesses can insure buildings for up to $500,000 for the structure, and contents for up to $500,000.
Hunsinger cautions that winter weather is far from over. "Flood waters can rise just hours after a heavy rain," he said. "And there is a 30-day waiting period before newly purchased flood insurance takes effect. If you aren't protected by flood insurance, now is not the time to procrastinate."
For information about the NFIP, contact your insurance agent, or call the National Flood Insurance Call Center toll free: 1-800-427-4661.
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.