In case of a flood – are you covered?

Buckeye Farm News

Homeowners are often unaware that flood damage is not covered by their home insurance. Flood insurance is the single best way you can protect yourself from flood losses. Here are a few facts regarding floods and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):Floods happen everywhere – Any place can flood under certain conditions.

Federally backed – Flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program is administered and backed by the federal government.

Better than a loan – You don’t have to repay flood insurance settlements.

Faster recovery – Under the National Flood Insurance Program, your agent can help process claims quickly so you can make repairs and recover faster.

Cleanup help – Flood insurance covers cleanup expenses and damages to your heating and cooling systems. “After water damage has occurred, the first 24 to 48 hours are crucial in preventing additional damage,” according to Dick Clinard, associate vice president, Nationwide and Allied Claims.

Flood insurance covers direct physical losses by flood. Depending on the exact circumstances of the event and claim, flood insurance could also cover other water losses including those resulting from coastal storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, levee dam failure and other similar causes. Flood insurance coverage is also available for your possessions, including furniture, clothing and other valuables. Flood insurance isn’t just for homeowners. Condo owners and renters should also buy flood insurance.

How Flood Insurance Works

Flood policies are written by the U.S. government and are offered to customers with property located in government designated flood zones. These policies are necessary because certain types of water damage are excluded from regular homeowner policies.Some examples of flood coverage could include:

Rivers overflowing (flash floods)

Storm surges during a hurricane

Street storm drains filling up due to heavy rains causing water backup

Flood damage to vehicles is covered under the comprehensive section of an auto insurance policy, but there is no coverage for flooding in most standard homeowners, renters or commercial property insurance policies. Coverage is available in a separate policy from the NFIP. Despite efforts to publicize this, many people exposed to the risk of floods still fail to purchase flood insurance.

People tend to underestimate the risk of flooding and while the number of insureds is growing, a significant portion of the population at risk of flooding still is not insured for flood damage. Ninety percent of all natural disasters in this country involve flooding. The federal government declared 51 major flood disasters in 2010 and another 56 flood disasters in 2011.    Source: Insurance Information Institute

Protect your home and possessions in case of flooding. Contact your local agent or a Nationwide Insurance agent to buy flood insurance today. Please remember that most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before they take effect.

Top 10 facts every consumer needs to know about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

1. Everyone lives in a flood zone.

You do not need to live near water to be flooded.Floods are caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, as well as broken water main.

2. Flood damage is not covered by homeowners’ policies.

You can protect your home, business and belongings with flood insurance from the NFIP.You can insure your home with flood insurance up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for its contents.

3. You can buy flood insurance no matter your flood risk.

It does not matter whether your flood risk is high or low. Anyone in a community that participates in the NFIP can buy building and/or contents coverage, with very few exceptions. Some Costal Barrier System (CBRS) areas, Otherwise Protected Areas (OPAs) and buildings principally below ground or entirely over water are not eligible for National Flood Insurance. It is a good idea to buy even in lower risk areas because 25 to 30 percent of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.

4. The low-cost Preferred Risk Policy is ideal for homes and businesses in low-to-moderate-risk areas.

Homeowners can insure buildings and contents for as little as $119 per year.Business owners can insure buildings and contents for as little as $550 per year.Residential renters can insure contents for as little as $39 per year.

5. Flood insurance is affordable.

About 90 private insurance companies nationally offer affordable flood insurance backed by the federal government. Contact your local agent. Policies are available to homeowners, condo owners, apartment owners, renters and business owners alike.

6. Flood insurance is easy to get.

You can buy flood insurance from private insurance companies and independent insurance agents.You can purchase flood insurance with a credit card.

7. Contents coverage is separate, so renters can also insure their belongings.

Up to $100,000 contents coverage is available for homeowners and renters.Whether you rent or own your home or business, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. It is not automatically included with the building coverage (except under the Preferred Risk Policy).

8. Up to a total of $1 million in flood insurance coverage is available for nonresidential buildings and contents.

Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for nonresidential buildings.Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for the contents of nonresidential buildings.

9. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

Plan ahead so you are not caught without insurance when a flood threatens your home or business.

10. Federal disaster assistance is not the answer.

Federal disaster assistance is only available if the president declares a disaster.Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.

Source: National Flood Insurance Program

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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