Portsmouth, NH -- For Bay State residents hit hard by record spring flooding, no reminder is needed about the damage incessant rains can cause, even in areas not normally associated with flooding.
As more homeowners consider purchasing a flood coverage policy from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to guard against potential flood damage arising from a predicted busy tropical storm season, recovery officials remind purchasers there is typically a thirty day waiting period before the policy takes effect.
In everyday terms, purchasing an NFIP structural or household contents-only policy in late July or thereafter means flood protection may not be in place at the arrival of the high-risk hurricane season usually starting in mid-August.
Without federally backed NFIP insurance, the potential sources of flood damage compensation are very limited.
- A presidential disaster declaration is required before property owners or renters would be eligible to apply for aid from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual Assistance programs. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low interest disaster loans program to cover uninsured damages to real and personal property is automatically activated in a presidential declaration for Individual Assistance.
- In some instances the SBA may determine that low-interest loans could be available to some counties without a presidential declaration.
- Standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage or loss.
Many people mistakenly believe they must live in a high-risk zone to buy flood insurance. However, more than 25 percent of the claims paid are from areas at medium or low risk for flooding. To learn how your property is zoned, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.
NFIP insurance is sold through private insurance agents. Homes can be insured against flood damage for up to $250,000 and commercial buildings up to $500,000. Separate policies covering contents can provide insurance up to $100,000 for homes and $500,000 for commercial properties. Renters can insure their personal property for up to $100,000.
On July 2, President Obama signed a bill reauthorizing NFIP through Sept. 30, 2010. It must be reauthorized again to be offered beyond that date. Policies purchased now will be effective 30 days after the premium is paid and will remain in effect for a year.
For more information on NFIP, call 888-379-9531, visit www.FloodSmart.gov, or call your local insurance agent.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and 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.