The struggle with the long-term effects of catastrophic flooding can be a concern to those that call the Midwest home. As spring approaches, the threat of flooding once again becomes a concern. Unlike many other types of peril causing damage to your home or property, flood damage is not covered by your standard insurance policy. It is important to understand that in order to secure coverage for flood damage to your home or business, you must purchase this specialized coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Iowa Insurance Division has released the following valuable information to remind individuals to consider purchasing flood insurance:
What is Flood Insurance?
- Flood insurance is a special policy that is federally backed by the NFIP and available for both homeowners and businesses.
- You can buy flood insurance for your home or business regardless of whether the property is in or out of a floodplain, as long as the property is located in a participating community.
- You may buy flood insurance covering up to $250,000 of flood damage to your home. A standard flood policy will cover structural damage, including damage to the furnace, water heater, air conditioner, floor surfaces (carpeting and tile) and debris clean up.
- For an additional premium, you also may buy flood coverage for up to $100,000 of damage to the contents of your home.
- Coverage is available for up to $500,000 for non–residential buildings and their contents.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
According to FEMA, the average homeowners flood insurance premium is a little more than $500 a year.
Premiums for flood insurance will vary depending upon your risk level for a flood loss, the amount of coverage you choose, the type of coverage you need and your deductible.
How Can I Buy Flood Insurance?
You can purchase flood insurance for your home or business regardless of whether the property is in or out of a floodplain, directly from your property and casualty insurance agent if your community participates in the NFIP. To find out if your community participates, visit www.fema.gov.
Your insurance agent can confirm whether flood insurance is available to you and what it would cost.
Plan Ahead — There is a 30 Day Waiting Period!
It is very important to plan ahead. A flood insurance policy normally will not go into effect until 30 days after you purchase the policy.
Additional Safety Tips
- For personal safety, identify what storm shelter is available to you and prepare an evacuation plan.
- Make sure you have bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery–powered radio, non–perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies and a small amount of cash.
- If you need to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.
- Take proactive steps to protect your property from loss. Be sure there is no loose siding on your home and no damaged or diseased trees growing over your home.
- Take an inventory of your personal property, such as clothes, jewelry, furniture, computers and audio/video equipment. Photos and video of your home, as well as sales receipts and the model and serial numbers of items, will make filing a claim simpler. In addition, add insurance information to your inventory information — the name of your company and agent, policy number, and contact information.
- Move all of your important documents to a safe location. Take them with you when you evacuate or store them in a safe deposit box outside the area.
For more information about flood insurance, visit the NFIP Web site at www.fema.gov/business/nfip/.
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