SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Many West Virginia residents are indifferent to the need to purchase flood insurance because their home or rental property has never flooded. If this is your experience and you live in a low- to moderate-risk area, signing up for an inexpensive Preferred Risk Policy under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the thing to do now.
If you wait until you've had a flood to buy insurance, the costs will be higher. "The NFIP was established to bring flood insurance rates within reach of average homeowners and renters," said Gregory Eaton, Federal Coordinating Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)." We encourage property owners to protect themselves from unexpected flood losses by considering the purchase of an inexpensive Preferred Risk Policy."
Rates begin at $119 per year for buildings without basements, including contents. Structures are insured up to $250,000 and the contents of a home up to $100,000. Renters wanting to insure their personal property can buy $8,000 of coverage for as little as $39 per year.
Floods can occur almost anywhere, anytime. FEMA/NFIP records show that of all natural disasters occurring in the United States, ninety percent involve flooding and twenty to twenty-five percent of flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk areas.
Flood damage is not covered under most homeowner policies, and there is no guarantee that Federal assistance will be available when a flood occurs. If it is available, applicants may be required to purchase a flood policy before being approved for assistance. Or Federal help may come in the form of a low-interest loan, which will have to be repaid.
The Preferred Risk Policy covers most one- to four-family buildings and apartments, as long as the property has no significant history of flooding. For properties located in higher risk areas, insurance is offered at regular rates.
The Preferred Risk Policy will not be issued if a property owner has received:
- Two flood loss payments of more than $1000 each;
- Three or more loss payments of any amount;
- Two Federal Disaster Relief payments of more than $1,000 each;
- Three Federal Disaster Relief payments of any amount; or
- One flood insurance claim payment and one disaster relief payment of more than $1000 each (including loans and grants).
When you take into account the high costs involved in repairing a flood-damaged home and the costs of replacing valuable items, if they can be replaced, the Preferred Risk Policy is a homeowner's or renter's best buy.
For more information, call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-888-CALL-FLOOD, visit the website, FloodSmart.gov. or call your insurance agent.
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.