As Floridians continue to recover from the storms of 2004 and 2005, and the 2006 season fast approaches, it is vital that all property owners living and doing business in areas designated as flood zones by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) purchase flood insurance — a key measure of hurricane preparedness — according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Florida’s State Emergency Response Team (SERT).
Homeowners, business owners and renters need to understand that homeowners and commercial insurance policies will not cover them against floods. With the new hurricane season just a few months away, it is important that property owners protect their property before the next storm hits.
Everyone is at risk for flooding. Many people don’t realize that flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms can cause property damage and loss of life hundreds of miles from the coast. National flood insurance is available in all zones (low, moderate, and high risk), with significant cost savings for people in low-to moderate-risk areas.
Through the NFIP:
* Homeowners can purchase up to $250,000 of coverage, plus an additional $100,000 to cover their home’s contents.
* Business owners can purchase up to $500,000 of coverage, plus an additional $500,000 for the building’s contents.
* There is no payback requirement for flood insurance settlements.
* The average flood insurance premium is around $450 per year.
* Flood insurance policies must be renewed every year.
Property owners who have not already purchased flood insurance are encouraged to do so soon. It is crucial that they do not procrastinate, as t here is a standard 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. The waiting period is waived if you are making, increasing, renewing or extending a federally-backed loan for the property.
Flood insurance is easy to obtain and is sold by most insurance agents. Visit www.FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 to learn how to prepare for floods, how to purchase a National Flood Insurance Policy and about the benefits of protecting homes and property against flooding.
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