IID Encourages Iowans to Consider Flood Insurance

 

 

Iowa Insurance Division                                                        Contact: Tom Alger, Communications Director

330 Maple Street                                                                     Phone: 515-242-5179

Des Moines, Iowa 50319                                                         tom.alger@iid.iowa.gov

March 6, 2013

FOR  IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Remember Flooding? It Could Happen Again

Even last year’s drought might not guarantee safety this spring

DES MOINES, IOWA, March 6, 2013 -The National Weather Service recently said that Iowa’s lack of subsoil moisture wouldn’t necessarily protect us from flooding.  The reason for that is that the ground is frozen, so melting or spring rains won’t be able to soak into the soil as easily.

It’s an important reminder to us that we can’t let our guard down about flood preparedness.  All we have to have is a storm or a series of storms over several hours or a few days, with enough surface water accumulating to threaten nearby homes and businesses.

When flood damage happens, normal homeowners and business property insurance will not help pay the costs of the losses. The exclusion of flood coverage is a standard feature in property insurance. The easiest way to address this special and unprotected risk is with a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, available in communities that participate in the program.

Many of the same insurance agents who sell homeowners and renters policies are trained and licensed to sell this type of insurance.  Buying it has to be done as a matter of good planning and not a reaction to an immediate problem because, unlike some insurance coverage, flood insurance is not effective until 30 days after it is written. That’s why the Iowa Insurance Division is encouraging property owner to consider purchasing flood insurance to make sure they are fully protected.  

What is a flood?

A flood is an excess of water (or mud) on land that’s normally dry. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines flood 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: overflow of inland or tidal waters; unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; mudflow; or collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels.

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. To find out if your community participates, visit www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.\
  • 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 $500,000for non–residential buildings and their contents.

How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?

Based on information from FEMA, while the average homeowners flood insurance premium costs several hundred dollars a year in Iowa,  the average premium cost of flood insurance for those Iowans outside of special flood hazard areas is much lower. 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 the deductible you choose.

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 or insurance company, if your community participates in the NFIP. Your insurance agent or insurance company also 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 videos 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.

 

The Iowa Insurance Division urges Iowans to consider purchasing protection for this type of risk. Iowa’s Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says, “Iowans know from experience about floods and the damage they can cause.  Some communities in our state are still struggling to overcome the damage caused from major flooding that occurred over five years ago. This is one way Iowans can protect themselves from similar situations in the future.”

.For more information about flood insurance, visit the NFIP Web site at www.fema.gov/business/nfip/.

About the Iowa Insurance Division

The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) has general control, supervision and direction over all insurance and securities business transacted in the state, and enforces Iowa’s insurance and securities laws and regulations. The IID investigates consumer complaints and prosecutes companies, agents and brokers engaging in unfair trade practices. Consumers with insurance or securities-related questions or complaints may contact the IID toll free at 877-955-1212 or visit the Division on the web at www.iid.state.ia.us.

 

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