MOORHEAD, Minn.-- You don't have to own your own home to protect your personal possessions from floodwaters. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) also offers renters the chance to safeguard their personal property.
Renters can purchase up to $100,000 in coverage for the contents of their homes and do not need an existing standard renter's insurance policy in order to qualify for NFIP coverage. Basement apartments are not eligible structures under the NFIP. Personal property stored in a basement is not covered also.
"Flood insurance can provide financial relief from flood damages to a rental home's contents," said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael H. Smith of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Flood insurance can be very inexpensive, and we urge renters to contact their insurance agent.
Individuals can contact their local government to see if their community participates in the NFIP and to learn if they are living in a special flood hazard zone. Anyone in a participating community can purchase flood insurance. Since standard renter's insurance does not cover flood damage, flood insurance must be purchased separately.
Steps renters should take include:
- Evaluate your risk level. Determine if you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which has a one-percent chance of flooding each year. Preferred-risk (lower-cost) policies are available for those living outside the SFHA.
- Estimate the cost of your belongings. Exclude items stored in a basement because they will not be covered.
- Determine how much insurance you might need. Remember, flood insurance only covers contents up to $100,000.
- Contact your insurance agent. If you need help locating an agent, go to www.floodsmart.gov. and type in your address in the box that says "How Can I Get Covered?"
- Document your belongings. Make an itemized list of your belongings, including make, model and serial number, if applicable. Also, photograph or video each item and store the information in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box or electronic file.
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 protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.