Iowans Can Avoid Flood of Problems

March 4, 2004

With spring following closely on a winter characterized by heavier than normal snow, Iowa Insurance Commissioner Terri Vaughan is urging Iowa residents to protect their homes, businesses, and possessions from the possibility of devastating flood losses. The
potential for heavy rains, added to snow melt off, can contribute to widespread disaster.

“It’s vital that all Iowa residents understand that a flood can strike just about anytime and anywhere,” said Vaughan. “Once a flood happens, it’s too late to prevent financial devastation.”

The Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) estimates that one-quarter of flood insurance claims come from areas that were thought to have low risks of flooding. FIA officials stress that everyone is at risk of flooding and should consult their insurance agents about getting flood insurance coverage in addition to their homeowners insurance.

“Not enough people realize that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage,” commented Vaughan. “Flood insurance, on the other hand, is federally backed, gives flood victims the peace of mind and financial resources to help them recover, and is available through insurance companies and agents just like homeowner policies.

“Ultimately, we all pay the price when neighbors don’t have proper coverage for flood damage. All taxpayers, including those in Iowa, bear much of the financial burden to help uninsured victims in our state recover. Greater awareness and participation in the National
Flood Insurance Program will reduce this burden significantly.”

Flood losses are essentially unprotected without flood insurance. Not all floods result in a federal disaster declaration. Even when they do, associated programs are not designed to provide for full recovery of property losses. The fact is that the average cost to repay a disaster home loan is approximately 12 times as expensive as an average annual flood insurance premium.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) makes federally backed flood insurance available in 19,000 communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. The FIA manages the insurance component of the NFIP. It is currently authorized through March 31, 2004. The United States Congress is considering its
extension beyond that time.

To learn more about flood insurance, access

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