"Both the history of flooding in this state and the many floods throughout the midsection of our nation are reminders that flooding is a serious risk to Arkansas residents and the economy," said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Moore of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage and less than one per cent of Arkansas residents and business owners have flood insurance."
"We often can't prevent flooding, but flood insurance can cut the financial and emotional toll," said Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Director David Maxwell.
Low-cost National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage is available to homeowners, renters and businesses in every community in the state that participates in the program. Home and business owners can buy coverage for their buildings and contents, and renters can purchase insurance to cover personal property.
Participating NFIP communities agree to adopt and enforce sound management practices in high risk areas called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) to reduce damage from floods. Residents in non-participating communities - jurisdictions that choose not to follow NFIP guidelines for floodplain management - are not eligible to purchase flood insurance. A listing of 397 participating and 69 non-participating Arkansas communities is available at www.fema.gov/cis/AR.html
Property owners who do not live near bodies of water should not be lulled into a false sense of security. More than 25 percent of flood insurance claims occur in areas outside of an identified SFHA.
NFIP officials strongly emphasize that residents and business owners can buy flood-insurance coverage on both contents and qualifying structures, whether or not they live in high-risk areas, as long as their community participates in the federal flood insurance program.
The average annual flood insurance premium in Arkansas is $543, according to the NFIP. Private insurance companies and agents sell and service the policies, which are backed by the federal government under FEMA's NFIP. Residents and business owners can find a list of agents who sell the coverage in their areas on http://www.floodsmart.gov/ or by calling 1-888-379-9531.
Some important facts about floods and flood insurance:
- Ninety percent of all natural disasters in the United States involve some degree of flooding
- Even a few inches of water can cause extensive, costly damage
- One-quarter of all flood damage occurs in structures where the flood risk is classified as low to moderate
- Homeowners, renters and business insurance policies do not cover flood damage
- While FEMA provides aid only in presidentially declared disasters, flood insurance covers flood damages regardless of a presidential declaration
- Flood insurance coverage is available for a qualifying structure and its contents whether or not the structure is in a high risk area as long as the community participates in the program
- Home and business owners should purchase coverage on both structure and contents. Renters should purchase contents insurance
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and ...