With mountain snowpack high and rainy months on the way, now is the time to buy flood insurance, say state and federal emergency management officials.
In most circumstances, there is a 30-day waiting period from the time the policy is written and the premium is paid until the policy goes into effect. That means a policy purchased today, April 2, would not go into effect until May 2. It also means that a policy purchased a few weeks from today might not be in effect when spring runoff starts.
National Flood Insurance Program policies are available for homeowners, businesses and renters and include coverage for the structure and contents. Policy limits are $250,000 for residential structures and $100,000 for residential contents. Business structures and contents can be insured for up to $500,000 each. Renter content policies are available with a limit of $100,000.
As many survivors of last September’s disaster can attest, small creeks and even dry ditches can quickly turn into wide raging rivers. In fact, most flood insurance payments across the country are paid out to people who did not live in a Special Flood Hazard Area, or floodplain.
People who do live in a Special Flood Hazard Area, and who have a federally backed loan, are required to carry flood insurance. Also, anyone who lives in an A or V flood zone, and who received Individual Assistance from FEMA for last September’s flood damage, must have flood insurance or they will jeopardize federal assistance for any future flood declaration.
Flood insurance is available only to people who live or own businesses in a participating community with an approved flood hazard plan. To find out if you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area, contact your floodplain manager through your local or county government.
People with flood insurance can collect payments for damages sustained in most flooding events, even if the flooding does not result in a disaster declaration.
The process and the rules can get complicated, so emergency officials urge anyone thinking about flood insurance to contact an insurance agent for more information. To find an agent or for more information on flood insurance, visit floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-379-9531.