Homeowners... Be Flood Aware

posted Apr 15, 2014, 5:16 PM by Lebanon NH   [ updated Aug 15, 2016, 6:55 AM ]
Thousands of homeowners thought it would never happen to them. 

Don't be one of those homeowners. If you live in one of the nearly 21,500 communities (214 New Hampshire communities) that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a flood insurance policy.

Truth is, you can live miles away from water and still be a victim of flooding. In fact, more than one in five NFIP flood claims occur outside of mapped high-risk areas. It doesn't take much to damage your property. Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in image. Fortunately, flood insurance is available to almost everyone in a NFIP participating community. 

The NFIP defines a 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, one of which is yours. Flooding can occur anywhere at any time of the year. Whether they result from flash floods, mudflows, snow melt or heavy rains, floods can devastate communities. 

Your homeowners insurance covers many hazards. Flooding typically isn't one of them. Also, many people believe federal disaster assistance will cover them. Not always! The President must first declare a flood a federal disaster; any assistance you receive is usually a loan that has to be repaid with interest. 

Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. If your lender requires flood insurance when making, increasing, extending or renewing a loan on a building in a high risk area, there is no waiting period. There is a one day waiting period when a revised flood map is issued. 

The cost of your premium is determined by your level of risk, how much coverage you choose, your deductible, and the age, elevation and type of building. The average premium for a residential flood insurance policy is less than $2 a day. If you live in a single family dwelling outside of a mapped high risk area, your premiums could be even lower. 

The NFIP Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) is available for residential and commercial properties located outside of mapped high risk areas, and premiums start at less than $130 a year. Contents only PRPs are also available for renters living outside of mapped high risk areas, and premiums are as little as $39 a year. Ask your agent if you qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy. 

For more information about flood insurance, visit www.FloodSmart.gov or talk to your insurance agent. If your insurance agent doesn't write flood policies, you can contact one of the many insurance companies and agents who write policies under a special arrangement with the NFIP. For a list of agents in your area, call 1-888-724-6924 and or visit FloodSmart.gov

Be flood smart because you never know when a flood will strike. Everyone's at risk. Don't take a chance! Take a moment to call your insurance agent or insurance company before it's too late. 

A flood is defined as any high flow, overflow, or inundation of water that causes or threatens damage. Flooding can occur with prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or when water from an existing source moves too quickly (i.e. snowmelt, dam break, etc.). Understanding the different flood hazards and knowing the actions to take before, during, and afterwards can help you protect your life, the lives of your loved ones, and your property. 

More information about the types of flooding that is typical in New Hampshire and the significant floods that have occurred in New Hampshire can be found on the National Weather Service website at http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/states/nh-flood.shtml

The FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer (https://fema.maps.arcgis.com - click on "Map" at the top left) is an easy, online mapping tool that can be used to help assess a property's flood risk. Just enter an address and search to view the flood hazard areas for that property.