This has been a difficult spring in terms of natural disasters – from devastating tornadoes to a large number of hail storms. Currently, we’re watching towns in the south being submerged under water, and rivers in flood stages that haven’t been seen in recent history.
Our hearts go out these families, and you can rest assured that we are doing everything we can to help our customers who have been affected by all of these disasters. For many, seeing the flooding (and with hurricane season bearing down on us) begs the question – “Am I covered if this happens to me?” This press release just came across my desk, and hopefully it will answer some of those questions.
CHICAGO—With hurricane season starting on June 1st, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) urges homeowners, business owners and renters who do not currently have flood insurance to buy it right away.
“Many insurance consumers do not realize that their standard homeowners policy does not cover flooding, and that flood insurance must be purchased separately,” said Don Griffin, PCI’s vice president, personal lines. “Flood insurance is sold through agents who sell policies on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you have only a standard homeowners policy and suffer flooding from a hurricane, the flood damage will not be covered under that policy, so it is crucial to have flood insurance. Because NFIP policies don’t take effect for 30 days, the sooner people can buy flood insurance, the better.”
While having flood insurance in place is important in coastal areas, recent heavy rains have brought flooding to much of the nation’s heartland as well. Unfortunately, according to the NFIP, more than 50 percent of properties in high-risk areas remain unprotected by flood insurance, and in the northeast and Midwest, coverage rates are significantly lower. Even in coastal areas that live under constant threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, many homeowners or renters do not have this crucial coverage.
According to the NFIP, floods are the number-one natural disaster in the United States, and 75 percent of all federally declared disasters over the past five years have involved flooding. There is a 26 percent chance that a home will suffer flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage, and U.S. flood losses have averaged $2.4 billion per year over the last decade.
“In any part of the country where flooding is a possibility, property owners and renters should absolutely make sure to protect themselves and their belongings by purchasing flood insurance,” Griffin said.
Individuals who currently have homeowners or renters insurance should talk to their agents to see if their insurers sell flood policies. They can also locate agents who sell flood policies through the agent locator on the NFIP website.