The flooding and severe storms that occurred April 28-May 11, 2017 damaged more than 1,000 structures in Missouri. Many homeowners, business owners and renters had a flood insurance policy, but some did not. Floods can affect anyone and are the most common and most costly natural disasters in the United States. Without flood insurance it may be too costly for the owners to repair or rebuild after the disaster.
Why should I get flood insurance?
- Policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program pay even if a federal disaster is not declared. FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) grants are available only after federally declared disasters. Historically, federal disasters are declared in less than 50 percent of flood events.
- FEMA assistance does not cover all losses. NFIP policy holders can choose their amount of coverage. The maximum for residential structures is $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage. The maximum for businesses is $500,000 in building coverage and $500,000 in contents coverage.
- Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. Check with your agent to see whether your policy covers flood damage. Flood insurance is usually written as a separate policy.
- Flood insurance gives you control. As long as your community participates in NFIP, as a homeowner or business owner you can get building and contents coverage included in your NFIP policy. Renters can get coverage for contents only.
Where can I buy flood insurance?
- You can buy flood insurance by contacting your insurance company or agent.
- For an agent referral call 800-427-4661 or you may visit https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.
When should I buy a policy?
As soon as possible. FEMA urges you to buy flood insurance before a flood event occurs. NFIP cannot pay a claim if you don’t have a policy in effect when damage occurs. An insurance policy from NFIP becomes effective 30 days after you buy it, unless the purchase is associated with the origination, renewal or extension of a federally backed loan on property in a high-risk area.
If your home, apartment or business was flooded due to the severe storms April 28-May 11, 2017 and you did not have flood insurance, you cannot get coverage for damage from this event. However, you can get coverage against future flooding.
My community has never flooded, so why do I need flood insurance?
Almost 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from outside areas determined to be at high risk for flooding. Flooding can occur almost anywhere. It occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as in high-risk areas. Even if you live in a low-to-moderate risk area, you are encouraged to get and keep coverage.
I am not in a flood hazard area, but I’d like to purchase flood insurance. Is this possible?
Yes, as long as your community participates in NFIP. You are eligible to purchase a flood policy with the same coverage you would receive if you lived in a high-risk area. A Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate-to-low risk areas for one price.
My community does not participate in NFIP. What can I do to get insurance? Is there any action I can take?
For information regarding community participation in NFIP, contact local authorities in your community, i.e., the mayor, city council members, commissioners, etc. Federally backed flood insurance is made available for communities that participate in the program. Private insurance may be available through your local insurance agent.
Can I get flood insurance if I'm renting a property?
Yes. If you live in a community that participates in NFIP and you are a renter, you can get flood insurance to cover the contents of your home, apartment or business at a rented location.
How much does a policy cost?
The cost of a policy depends on the flood risk, but the average cost for a homeowner is approximately $1,000 per year in Missouri. It is essential that you speak with your insurance agent to determine exact costs.
How much will I get from NFIP after my property is damaged by a flood?
There are some misconceptions about the amount a policyholder will receive following flood-caused damage. While a policy may state it covers losses up to a certain amount:
- The amount paid to the policyholder on a homeowner’s policy will cover only the cost of actual damage caused by the flood.
- The amount paid on contents will cover only actual losses caused by the flood.
- The amount paid to businesses covered for structure and contents will be only for actual losses by the flood.
Can I drop my flood insurance if it is no longer required by my mortgage lender?
Even though flood insurance isn’t federally required (except for those living in an identified Special Flood Hazard Area who have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender), anyone can be vulnerable to floods. It is a good idea to talk to your local emergency manager or code enforcement officer to make sure you have the coverage you need. Know the facts before you decide that your property is not at risk.
If I receive federal disaster assistance and I do not get flood insurance, can I get federal disaster assistance for future disasters?
If you live in a high risk flood zone, and you've received federal disaster assistance in the form of grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) following a Presidential disaster declaration, you must maintain flood insurance in order to be considered for any future federal disaster assistance.
Where can I get more information on flood insurance?
Visit www.FloodSmart.gov or call the NFIP helpdesk at 800-427-4661.
June 28, 2017