Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Flood season is coming - get insurance now

Flooding causes millions of dollars in damage yearly and the only way renters and homeowners can insure their property against such losses is with flood insurance. Flood insurance should be purchased now because there is a 30 waiting period before the policy will take effect and already the rains are upon us.

Floods can happen because of heavy rains, leaking levies, urban runoff, sandbags forcing water to other areas and rivers changing course.

Many people believe the following myths:

Myth 1: If my home floods, FEMA will come and fix it for me.

Truth: If the flooding is severe enough, the Governor may ask for a Federal declaration. If the President approves, FEMA may assist you with temporary housing and MINOR repairs. There are always loans but insurance is your best bet.

If the flooding is not severe enough to warrant government assistance, flood insurance will still help cover your losses. Without it, you would be stuck paying for repairs out of pocket. We often see flooding situations where stream or urban runoff impacts a few homes and therefore does not qualify for any government disaster aid. In those situations, a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy can save a homeowner or renter considerable financial losses.

Myth 2: My regular homeowner’s insurance will cover me if I get flooded.

Truth: The average home or business insurance policy does not cover flooding or other special events like earthquake. You need to get separate policies for these disasters.

The basic facts:

Homeowners can insure a home structure up to $250,000 and its contents up to $100,000. These can be two separate policies. Contents are not automatically included.

Renters can cover belongings up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure buildings and contents up to $500,000.

The average yearly cost of a NFIP policy is around $400. Policies can be purchased from your local insurance agent if your county is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program. Call your insurance agent for details.
The NFIP was created in 1968 to provide flood insurance at a reasonable cost and is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

More information on the National Flood Insurance program and your home’s flood risk can be found at www.floodsmart.gov .

Be informed and go to www.FEMA.gov for more information on different types of disasters. Oregon Emergency Management wants Oregonians to be well informed and prepared.

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