NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With the severe storms and flooding that just took place in Middle Tennessee on Aug. 21, now is a good time for individuals and communities to become participants in the National Flood Insurance Program. Just an inch of floodwater per 1,000 square feet can cost about $10,000 to repair. Yet, most private insurance companies do not cover flood damage.
Any individual or family can purchase flood insurance if their community participates in the NFIP. However, with the exception of Erin and Tennessee Ridge in Houston County and McEwen, New Johnsonville and Waverly in Humphreys County, the unincorporated areas in the counties do not participate in the program and adopt the Special Flood Hazard Area maps, which makes them sanctioned communities.
By law, sanctioned communities cannot receive federal disaster money for anything that would normally have been covered by insurance. This includes funding for permanent home and public infrastructure repair. Individuals in these communities may only be eligible for rental assistance and reimbursement of lodging expenses and grants for other needs, such as transportation, childcare, medical, dental, moving/storage, and funeral expenses. And local governments may be provided reimbursement for emergency protective work, such as for debris removal and temporary repairs.
The good news is that these sanctioned communities can still become eligible for funding for permanent repair work for the August storms and flooding if they join the NFIP by Feb. 21, 2022, which is six months from the initial date of the federal disaster declaration. Once the sanctioned communities become NFIP participants, individuals and families and local governments may be eligible for all forms of FEMA assistance.
Other advantages to participating in NFIP: flood insurance claims are paid even when a major disaster has not been declared. Also, survivors may not have to take out a loan, which is the most common form of disaster assistance.
FEMA, which administers NFIP, is in the process of updating the insurance program’s pricing methodology to communicate flood risk more clearly, so policyholders can make more informed decisions on the purchase of adequate insurance and on mitigation actions to protect against the perils of flooding. For information on flood risks in your area, visit FEMA Flood Map Service Center | Welcome!.
To learn more about flood insurance policies or find an agent, FloodSmart | The National Flood Insurance Program or call 800-427-4661.