New Law Provides 30-Day Waiting Period Exception to Policies Following Wildfires on Federal Lands
WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced, based on consultation with the U.S. Forest Service, that residents in Colorado affected by flooding as a result of the uncontained wildfire in Waldo Canyon in the Pike National Forest and the contained wildfire in High Park in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest could be eligible for an exception from the 30-day waiting period usually required for flood insurance coverage.
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, signed into law Friday by President Obama, increases access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for some residents whose homes were impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires. The new law exempts these residents from a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance coverage to become effective. Eligibility for the exception is determined on a case-by-case basis.
“Everyone should know their flood risk and make a smart decision based on their risk on whether they should join the millions of Americans who have purchased flood insurance for their homes,” said David Miller, Associate Administrator of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA). “Residents impacted by wildfires might live in an area that doesn’t usually have a high risk of flooding, but the fires and dry soil change conditions dramatically. This new law provides a way for people with a heightened risk of flooding following a wildfire on federal land to protect their homes and businesses, and we encourage them to explore this option.”
Individuals and businesses purchasing new insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are typically required to wait 30 days for their flood insurance coverage to become effective. The reform provision in this bill created an exception to that requirement for property:
- That is affected by flooding on Federal land,
- Where the flooding is caused, or exacerbated by, post-wildfire conditions on Federal land, and
- Flood insurance was purchased not later than 60 days after the wildfire containment date.
Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States in terms of lives lost and property damaged. The NFIP provides a means for property owners to financially protect themselves against flooding, which typically isn’t covered by standard homeowners insurance. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.
The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by FEMA, which works with nearly 90 private insurance companies to provide affordable flood insurance to property owners and renters in NFIP-participating communities. One of the most critical ways to financially protect your home or business and its contents from flooding is to purchase flood insurance. To learn about flood risks in your area and for information on flood insurance, contact your insurance agent, and visit www.floodsmart.gov. For more information on flood preparedness tips and ways you can protect your family before, during and after a flood visit www.ready.gov/floods.
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.