DENVER – A hidden threat strikes many unprepared Americans each year – flooding. Unlike fire, wind, and hail, homeowner’s insurance will usually not pay for a flood loss. An uninsured flood loss can rob your life’s savings. Flood insurance protects you against such losses and can ensure that a flood doesn’t ruin your bank account along with your home.
Flooding can happen at any time and in almost any location. Some areas may face greater risk, but history has shown that almost no place is immune to flooding. Heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt can cause flash flooding. A blocked culvert or storm sewer drain can create flooding in a city neighborhood. Prolonged wet weather can swell streams and rivers. Even dry conditions can create problems, as rain in wildfire burn scar areas or drought-stricken regions can create flash flooding when soils can’t absorb water.
Flood insurance is easy to get. You just need to live in a participating community (which could be a county or other body serving unorganized areas). You don’t need to live in a floodplain to purchase a policy. In fact, if you live outside a floodplain you will likely pay less because of the lower risk.
The average cost for flood insurance is about $750 a year, or about $2 a day. And you can usually purchase a policy from your current insurance agent. When that isn’t possible, NFIP can put you in touch with another agent that can help you.
You should know that it takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to go into effect. Once you have it, it’s important to keep it up to date. That will allow you to recovery from any possible flood event. Don’t view a policy as a lottery ticket that will pay off during a high-risk year. Think of it as permanent peace of mind.
Learn about your risk and flood insurance at floodsmart.gov. If you have questions, talk to your insurance agent. If you need more information, call (800) 427-4661.