Pella Chronicle

Opinion

July 7, 2009

Federally Backed Flood Insurance: A Smart Bet for your Home or Business

Did you know that ninety percent of all natural disasters in the United States involve some kind of flooding? Floods are the most common natural disaster not only in the state of Iowa, but in the country as a whole. That’s why it’s important to consider flood insurance as part of your home and business protection plan.

For decades, our response to a flood disaster was to build a dam or levee, but this approach proved impractical and failed to discourage unwise development in flood prone areas. In 1968 Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to reduce future flood damage through community floodplain management ordinances, and to provide protection for property owners against potential losses through insurance.

NFIP insurance is sold through private insurance companies and agents, but is backed by the federal government. Flood insurance is available to homeowners as well as business owners, as long as the building is located in a NFIP participating community.

One of the common myths about flood insurance is that only people in the 100 year flood plain can get the insurance. This is not true - almost anyone in a participating community can purchase flood insurance. In fact, approximately 25 percent of NFIP claims come from outside the high flood risk areas. If your property is located in a low to moderate risk area, you should ask your agent if you are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, which provides very inexpensive flood insurance protection.

Another frequently asked question about flood insurance is whether or not you can purchase it just before or during a flood. You can purchase flood insurance at any time, but there is usually a 30 day waiting period after the premium is paid before the policy become effective.

As we have seen in this past year, federal disaster assistance often does not begin to cover the damage that occurs as a result of a flood. Any flood, even a small one that does not warrant a federal disaster declaration, can cause thousands of dollars in damages. Floodwaters contain a toxic brew of sewage, chemicals, animal waste and mud. This mess will get into everything, ruining carpet, walls, appliances and personal items. Flood insurance can provide your home or business with additional protection that your homeowners insurance doesn’t provide.

As we’ve seen over the past few years, the weather in our state can be unpredictable and dangerous. Federally backed flood insurance is an easy way to give yourself a little peace of mind, and protect your home or business.

If you would like additional information on the National Flood Insurance Program, please go online to: www.floodsmart.gov

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