WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Do you know if there is a flood threat near your home or business? If not, there is a new and simple way to find out. Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) www.floodsmart.gov website.
“With a few simple mouse clicks,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael R. Scott of FEMA, “you can find if your property is at risk for flooding, find an insurance agent who sells flood insurance in your area, and get an estimate of what the flood insurance policy may cost.”
To find that information, visit www.floodsmart.gov , and enter your address in the “One-Step Flood Risk Profile” box. On this site, you may also learn more about flooding and how to protect yourself, as well as additional information about flood insurance.
Floods are the most common type of natural disasters. According to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) data, the average annual U.S. flood losses in the most recent reporting period were more than $2.4 billion. Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Over the past 10 years, the average flood claim has amounted to over $33,000.
Flood damage is not generally covered by homeowner insurance. Flood insurance must be bought separately and is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss.
Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property's flood risk. If your property is flooded you do not need a Presidential Declaration to benefit from your insurance coverage.
All policy forms provide coverage for buildings and contents. However, you might want to discuss insuring personal property with your agent, since contents coverage is optional. An insurance agent can provide the full, detailed cost of flood insurance for your structure and contents.
Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4 percent interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
It takes 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to take effect, so it's important to buy it before the floodwaters start to rise. If a policy is purchased in conjunction with a mortgage closing, there is no waiting period.
“We encourage all Iowans to get flood smart by visiting FEMA's www.floodsmart.gov website. Protect yourself and your loved ones from flood damages and losses by purchasing a flood insurance policy. When it comes to flooding, there is no substitute for flood insurance,” said State Coordinating Officer Pat Hall of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
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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.