WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Flooding is a significant threat throughout Massachusetts, as demonstrated by recent floods throughout western Massachusetts following Tropical Storm Irene in August and by the March 2010 flooding throughout eastern Massachusetts. As many Massachusetts flood survivors discovered, homeowners insurance does not cover all flood events.
“Many people are unaware of their vulnerability to flood damage until it is too late and they find out that just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage and property loss,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mark H. Landry with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, home of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). “This is truly unfortunate for people who could have protected their assets by buying flood insurance.”
Congress created the NFIP in 1968 to assure that Americans could buy flood insurance and to reduce future flood damage through sound floodplain management. The NFIP provides flood insurance through private insurance agencies and insurance companies.
Although NFIP coverage is available to both property owners and renters for most types of residential or commercial buildings, some flooding damages are not covered. Coverage is limited for basements and their contents. NFIP coverage will not cover basement improvements such as finished floors, walls, ceilings or furniture along with most other contents.
In addition, some damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold is not covered. Further, damage to property and belongings outside of a building, such as landscaping, swimming pools, decks and patios are not covered by the NFIP.
“The flooding we experienced along several rivers in August, which resulted in a Presidential disaster declaration, is a reminder of how destructive flooding can be,” said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Schwartz with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. “Homeowners, renters and business owners can all obtain flood insurance through the NFIP – and they would all benefit if they did so.”
Property owners should consult with their insurance agent to review their NFIP policy in order to determine the specifics of their particular policy and to decide if they need to add contents coverage to their policy.
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.