Today marked the start of Flood Safety Awareness Week, an initiative by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that aims to inform about the hazards associated with floods and also what can be done to save life and property.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 90 percent of all natural disasters in the United States involve flooding. And, according to the National Weather Service, flooding causes approximately $5 billion in damage in the U.S. per year. This is more than any other severe weather-related event, in part because flooding can occur at any time of the year in virtually any location in the country.
For homeowners, it is important to be aware that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. That is, damages resulting from floods are commonly excluded from home insurance policies. The same scenario can be found within many business insurance policies in that flood coverage is often excluded.
For both homeowners and small business owners, obtaining a separate flood insurance policy may be necessary to ensure that their assets are protected in the event of a flood.
The National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP), is a program administered by FEMA that allows business owners, home owners, and renters to purchase flood insurance. FEMA has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. At FEMA.gov you can search for participating insurance companies.
In locations that are prone to flooding, obtaining a separate flood insurance policy can be a vital piece to the insurance puzzle. According to the NOAA, a home that resides in a high-risk area will experience a flood more than a quarter of the time (26 percent) during the life of a 30-year mortgage.
But flood awareness is not just for those who reside in high-risk areas, such as low-lying land or areas within designated floodplains. In fact, according to FEMA, 20 percent of flood insurance claims come from outside of high-risk areas.