What You Need To Know About Flood Insurance

NoahsArkWhile watching television this weekend, I saw many advertisements for the movie “Noah” opening March 28, at my local theater. The essence of the film is that Russell Crowe is charged with the task of building the ark to save the salvageable from destruction. We could have used Mr. Crowe as well as the ark during Katrina, Super Storm Sandy and the snow of this past winter in addition to some other recent events in our history.

After Super Storm Sandy many people got a rude awakening when they learned that traditional insurance policies don’t include coverage for Flood. This prompted many insurance agents to advise their customers, in writing once again, that the policy(ies) they currently have don’t protect them in case of a flood. Even so called “ALL RISK” or “ Special Form” policies don’t cover Flood unless it is specifically added at the time the policy is written. So what is a person to do?

In the case of a homeowner or a business owner, it is important to know that if your home or business is flooded, federal disaster assistance (FEMA) will no longer reimburse you for your damages. The best they can do is to offer you a low interest loan to help cover repairs from flood damages. And these loans are only available if the president of the U.S. formally declares a disaster, and you must pay back this loan along with any existing mortgage obligation you already have.

What about tenants? If you live or work in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you qualify to get flood insurance to cover the contents of your home or the contents of your business in case of a flood. Now that can be a huge help!

Since you can no longer count on federal disaster assistance, calling your agent now to purchase flood insurance is the only option that makes sense. Either that or start building the ark!

- Karen Skoler, CPCU

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