BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- With some forecasters already predicting heavy spring floods, now is the time for Minnesotans to consider purchasing flood insurance for their home or business. Most home and business owners in Minnesota do not have flood insurance coverage. They should contact their insurance agent to discuss flood insurance today.
Floods are the most common, most costly natural disaster in the United States. Many people think because they do not live near water, they are not at risk for flooding. But, 20 to 25 percent of all flood claims are made in low-to-moderate risk areas. Everyone, regardless of whether your home is in a designated flood zone, is at risk for flooding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and has developed useful tools for individuals to learn about their flood risk and flood insurance. Floodsmart.gov has several interactive tools where people can assess their flood risk, estimate how costly a flood would be, and find an insurance broker from whom they may purchase flood insurance.
Even a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to a home. To protect yourself, consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. For those living in low-to-moderate risk areas, policies can be as little as $129 per year. Unfortunately, there are misconceptions and myths about flood insurance that are keeping some from getting a policy. Among the most prevalent:
MYTH: Flood insurance is available only for homeowners.
FACT: Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums, apartments and nonresidential buildings, including commercial structures. A maximum of $250,000 of building coverage is available for single-family residential buildings; $250,000 per unit for multi-family residences. The limit for contents coverage on all residential buildings is $100,000, which is also available to renters. Commercial structures can be insured to a limit of $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents.
MYTH: Only residents of high-risk flood zones need to insure their property.
FACT: Even if you live in an area that is not flood-prone, it’s advisable to have flood insurance. One-quarter of the NFIP’s claims come from such areas. The NFIP’s preferred risk policies, available for as little as $129 per year, are designed for residential properties located in low- to moderate-risk flood zones.
MYTH: Federal disaster assistance will pay for flood damage.
FACT: Before a community is eligible for federal disaster assistance, it must be declared a federal disaster area. This happens in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents. The main form of federal assistance after a federally declared disaster is a loan. The average annual premium for an NFIP policy in Minnesota is about $650, which is less than the annual interest on most low-interest disaster loans. If you are uninsured and receive federal disaster assistance after a flood you must purchase flood insurance to receive disaster relief in the future.
Flood insurance policies go into effect 30 days after they have been purchased, so it is important for residents to buy their policies now, before the next flood. Flood insurance is available for homes and business; and renters can also purchase coverage to protect their belongings. To learn more about flood risk and insurance, and to get contact information for local agents who sell flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.
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 mitigat...