ORLANDO, Fla. – Floridians should consider buying flood insurance now while it’s dry.
Typically, a policy does not take effect until 30 days after the date of purchase. Buying and maintaining flood insurance now will help protect Floridians financially from storm damage.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood damage is most often called an excluded peril, meaning it’s not covered.
Floods are the most common and costly natural disasters in the United States. A flood-insurance policy protects policyholders financially even when a presidential disaster is not declared or if they live in a county that was not designated for federal assistance.
Roy Wright, who oversees FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, spoke recently at an insurance conference in Miami. He said rather than trying to find the right flood zone map, people should check their driver’s licenses.
“If it says Florida, you need flood insurance,” he said.
NFIP has more policies in Florida than any other state. While there are currently more than 1.7 million NFIP policies in the state, only about half of Florida homeowners inside high-risk areas had insurance against flooding before Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sept. 10, 2017.
As of March 15, 2018, nearly 33,000 NFIP claims for Irma damage had been filed. More than $993 million had been paid to policyholders, with an average closed claim payment of $46,099.
Flooding can occur almost anywhere. Almost 25 percent of flood-insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas and receive one-third of all federal disaster assistance for flooding.
In high-risk areas, there is at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year period.
As long as their community participates in NFIP, Floridians are eligible to purchase an NFIP policy.
The national average annual policy for home and business owners is about $700 for up to $250,000 in coverage. Properties in moderate-to-low risk areas may qualify for lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy rates.
In addition to coverage for structures, NFIP offers content coverage as low as $48 per year in some areas for home and business owners and renters. Policies may help with up to $100,000 in losses.
Helping people before, during and after disasters.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.