This section will give you an understanding of the basics regarding potential flood risks. You'll also find out when you're required to obtain flood insurance, as well as gain valuable insight about the high possibility that your homeowners insurance policy may not include flood coverage.
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.Facts:
What is a flood?
The way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and your homeowners insurance agent define floods may differ from how you might describe one-and that may have an impact on what is covered by your homeowners policy.
According to the NFIP, a flood is defined as "a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from:
(Sources: FEMA publication "National Flood Insurance Program Summary of Coverage," "FEMA Mandatory Purchase Guidelines," and www.fema.gov - FloodSmart "Know the Facts")
Everyone is in a flood zone.
Common sense would seem to suggest that the closer you are to a body of water, the higher your risk of flooding. But did you know that regardless of where you live you run the risk of flooding?
In fact, according to FEMA, properties in a high-risk flood zone have a 26% chance of flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire. (Source: FEMA Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines September 1999)
And flooding is in no way limited to coastal areas. For example, Pennsylvania, which has no ocean coastline, paid out more than $49 million in flood insurance claim payments in 2005.
(Source: www.fema.gov - NFIP Statistics, Total Claims Paid by State)
When you think of flooding, you think of severe weather such as hurricanes and tropical storms, or rivers overflowing their banks. But some of the lesser-known, localized causes of flooding that can catch a typical homeowner off-guard include:
A 100-year flood is not a flood that occurs every 100 years.
You may have been told that your property is in a "100-year-floodplain." This does not mean that your house will flood only once every one hundred years. It means that in any given year, there is actually a 1% chance or greater that this high-risk flood zone will experience flooding that equals or exceeds its boundaries.
There are, in fact, geographic areas that have sustained multiple "100-year" floods for several years in a row.
Prepare. Prevent. Respond. Recover.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the main source of flood insurance coverage in the United States. The NFIP, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides flood insurance coverage and monitors floodplain management across the country.
Why the NFIP was created
Prior to 1968, flood insurance was extremely expensive for private insurers to offer and even more difficult for homeowners to obtain. For decades, most homeowners viewed flooding only as a remote possibility and they relied on the federal government to provide disaster assistance in case that "rare event" actually happened. If federal disaster relief wasn't available, recovery costs were paid from the homeowner's pocket. Although flood-control works such as dams, levees and seawalls were built, the nation didn't see a reduction in flood losses, nor did communities implement wise building codes or strategies for new development to prevent flood damage to properties.
After a wave of flood losses in the 1960s, the U.S. Congress took action. It created the NFIP to promote community floodplain management ordinances and to offer federally-backed flood insurance.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 14:38|