FEMA Head Urges: Consumers Need to Learn Flood Insurance Basics

Homeowners, renters and business owners are being urged to learn the basics about flood insurance and to protect their homes and businesses before another storm hits by Michael D. Brown, the Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brown pointed out that barely six weeks into the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season the United States has already experienced more storms than normal.

“There is a 30-day wait for a new policy to go into effect so it is important to learn about flood insurance now,” Brown said. “Bad weather caused by hurricanes and tropical storm systems affects communities, not only near the coast, but far inland and flood insurance is the best way to protect your property against flood-related financial losses.”

The National Flood Insurance Program’s FloodSmart Campaign is working to dispel common misconceptions the public has about flood insurance. “Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the basics about flood insurance,” explained David Maurstad, Acting Federal Flood Insurance administrator and acting director of FEMA’s Mitigation Division. “People don’t realize that they need flood insurance and they can get it almost anywhere in the country.”

To help clear up misconceptions about flood insurance, FloodSmart offered the following basics:

* You CAN get flood insurance in most communities nationwide.

* You CAN get flood insurance if you live in a floodplain or high-flood risk area.

* You CAN get flood insurance if you live outside a floodplain, or a low to-moderate flood-risk area–and at lower cost.

* Renters and businesses CAN get flood insurance.

* You CAN get flood insurance if your property has been flooded before.

* You CAN get flood insurance from insurance agents in your area.

* You CAN buy flood insurance even if it isn’t required by your mortgage.

Under the National Flood Insurance Program, federally backed flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood losses by regulating new construction in high flood-risk areas.

At present, more than 4.4 million flood insurance policies are in approximately 20,000 participating communities nationwide, representing nearly $637 billion worth of coverage. The National Flood Insurance Program is self-supporting; claims and operating expenses are paid from policyholder premiums, not taxpayer dollars.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

Information about flooding risks and protection is available at NFIP’s web site: http://www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.