Erie Insurance Group: Melting Snow, Spring Rain can Quickly Cause Floods

February 15, 2005

Floods are not always caused by nature’s wrath. Melting snow combined with frequent rain showers can quickly over soak the soil and produce flooding. Unfortunately, many homeowners are reportedly unaware that homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage until it is too late.

“Many people do not realize, until it is too late, that the typical homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage,” said Mark Dombrowski of Erie Insurance Group, “Only flood insurance will cover losses in the event of a flood.” Flood insurance is available solely through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). “There is a 30-day waiting period for the policy to go into effect, so it’s important to contact your insurance agent before you experience any damages,” Dombrowski added.

Individuals should not assume that federal disaster aid will protect them. Before most forms of federal disaster assistance are offered, the President must declare the area a major disaster.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), less than 10% of all disasters are declared so by the President. Flood insurance claims are paid even if the President does not declare an area a major disaster.

FEMA reports that nearly 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from properties considered at low or moderate risk of flooding. Floods and flash floods occur in all 50 states. Most people live or work in areas that have some risk of flooding, according to the I.I.I.

According to FEMA, devastating floods in the United States cause more than $2 billion in property damage each year. However, it only takes an inch of water to cause costly damage to one’s property.

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