October 14, 2009 | Maureen Realty
Floods are the most common natural disaster, causing about $2 billion in property damage each year. In 1968, Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to limit the financial burden on taxpayers. This program is directly administered by the Federal Insurance Administration, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Private insurance companies have been selling and servicing flood insurance under this program since 1983. To learn more about flood insurance in your area, contact your insurance agent. Many times a property may partially be located in a FEMA flood area and lenders may require flood insurance. Most of the time this condition is known prior t the time of the offer, however, the FEMA maps are very outdated in areas and are widely open to interpretation due to the scale of the lines on the maps. Many times a survey can determine the actual elevation of the property to determine if flood insurance is required.
Where do floods occur?
Floods occur in every state and territory. People in flood plains are 26 times more likely to have a flood than a fire during their 30-year mortgage. Typical areas for floods are near existing waterways, but can occur from such simple things as temporary road construction, blocked storm sewer drains or waterways that have not been maintained.
Who can purchase flood insurance?
Flood insurance is available in communities that participate in the federal National Flood Insurance Program. Policies are available for homes, condominiums, apartments, and nonresidential buildings.
If my property was previously damaged in a flood, can I still purchase flood insurance?
If your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you are eligible to purchase flood insurance-no matter how many times your home, apartment, or business has flooded.
Are flood insurance premiums are the same no matter where I live?
No. Flood insurance premiums vary depending on property type, location, age, and construction. Check with your insurance agent to determine what the premiums would be for your property.
Can I purchase flood insurance if I live in high-risk flood area?
You are eligible to purchase federal flood insurance no matter where you live as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Keep in mind that, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, 25 percent to 30 percent of claims come from outside high risk flood areas-so even if you live outside of a high-risk area, you might want to think about this type of insurance.
Is it safe to walk through floodwater?
No. Drowning is a major cause of death during floods. Avoid walking through flowing water during a flood. As little as six inches of moving water is enough to knock you off your feet.
Is it safe to drive through floodwater?
No. During a flood, more people drown in cars than anywhere else. Never drive through a flooded area because roads and bridges may be washed away.
Do power lines and electrical wires pose a threat during floods?
Yes. Electrocution is a major cause of death during floods, as electrical currents travel through water. During a flood, stay as far away as possible from areas with power lines and electrical wires.