FORT MONMOUTH N.J. –Despite being the nation's number one natural disaster, statistics continue to show that most people ignore the risks associated flooding and do not purchase flood insurance. Since the year 2000 there have been 11 declared disasters in New Jersey, 7 of which included severe flooding, yet only a relatively small number of New Jersey households have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These low figures cause concern amongst officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Many families assume that a homeowner’s insurance policy covers flooding, but it usually does not,” said Bill Vogel, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer. “There are a lot general of misconceptions about flood insurance.”
Residents of New Jersey should know that not all flood damage qualifies for federal assistance. The President has to declare a major disaster first and Federal disaster assistance only provides enough help for people to get a start on rebuilding. Flood insurance purchased through the NFIP program is available to homeowners, business owners and renters as long as they live in an NFIP participating community. The building does not have to be located in a flood zone and the policy provides protection whether there is a Presidential declaration or not.
Even after a home, apartment, or business has been flooded, owners and renters are still eligible to purchase flood insurance, provided that the community is participating in the NFIP.
Since 1978, the NFIP has paid over 965 million dollars in flood insurance claims that have helped thousands of New Jersey families and businesses recover from flood event.
In an effort to bridge the gap that exists between the high rate of flooding events and the low percentage of flood insurance policies, FEMA is urging New Jersey residents to buy flood insurance now. For more information on flooding and flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-sponsored National Flood Safety Awareness Week through Friday, March 18, 2011.