SHREVEPORT, La. -- Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. That’s one important reason to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). And Louisianians are getting the message; nearly 12,000 claims were made in 2008 and more than $426 million was paid out. This puts Louisiana second on the list of the top 10 states for NFIP payouts in 2008.
This year, governments and private nonprofit groups that may be without flood insurance are faced with an enormous financial burden of rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges and other infrastructure after the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding of late October and early November.
“Parishes, cities and towns that carry flood insurance on their public property have made a smart investment in their future,” said Gerard M. Stolar, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort from last fall’s disaster. “Having flood insurance can mean that communities are able to get up and running more quickly, as well as open their facilities to the public sooner.”
NFIP flood insurance is available to any property owner, including homeowners, as long as the community participates in the program. Below are some important and interesting flood facts:
- All areas are susceptible to flooding to varying degrees; in fact, nationwide 25 percent to 30 percent of all flood claims occur in the low- to moderate-risk areas;
- To get secured financing to buy, build or improve structures in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), buyers or property owners are required to purchase flood insurance. Lending institutions that are federally regulated or federally insured must determine if the structure is located in a SFHA and must provide written notice requiring flood insurance.
- Communities can protect their public property with NFIP insurance. They can insure buildings for up to $500,000 and their contents for up to $500,000. Individuals can insure their homes for up to $250,000 and the contents for up to $100,000.
- It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before floodwaters start to rise;
- Nearly 21,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the NFIP by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage;
- Federal disaster assistance is not the answer to full recovery and is only available if the president declares a disaster. More than 90 percent of all hazardous events in the United States are not declared as federal disasters. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.
- NFIP loss payouts are not paid for by taxpayers but through premiums collected for flood insurance policies.
NFIP flood insurance is sold through most major private insurance companies and licensed property insurance agents who sell homeowners’ or property insurance. More information, including a list of local agents, is available via NFIP's toll-free line at 800-427-4661, (TTY/TD) 800-427-5593, or online at www.floodsmart.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.