Many People Still Unaware that Homeowners’ Policies Don’t Provide Coverage to Help Pay for the Cost of Recovering From a Flood
Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Will your homeowner’s insurance policy protect you against damage to your home if heavy spring rains lead to flooding?
“Too many people take it for granted that their homeowner’s insurance will cover flood damage, but that’s not the case. The fact is that most homeowners’ policies provide no protection at all from flooding,” said Maria T. Vullo, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services.
“Most property owners must purchase a separate flood insurance policy to protect their homes and belongings from flood losses. For those not already insured against flooding, this is a good time to consider buying a policy. It is not uncommon to see flooding caused by spring rains, especially in coastal areas, along rivers and streams and in low-lying areas,” Ms. Vullo said.
Flood insurance policies are generally separate from most homeowners’ insurance policies. Flood insurance may be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), or through a local property insurance agent offering coverage through the NFIP program.
Under the NFIP program, insurance coverage may be purchased as long as the insured property is located in a community that participates in the NFIP. Most of the communities in New York State participate. Community participation can be verified on the FEMA website, www.floodsmart.gov.
Flood policies are available to homeowners, renters and business owners.
Premiums for flood insurance vary depending upon your risk level for a flood loss, the amount of coverage selected and the amount of your deductible. Property owners may also choose whether to insure a home only, in which case structural damage caused by a flood would be covered, or to insure both a home and its contents. The average flood insurance policy costs $700 per year, according to the NFIP.
DFS further advises that homeowners consider:
It’s important to plan ahead because there is a 30-day waiting period from the time an NFIP policy is purchased to the time the insurance protection goes into effect.
The change in weather patterns means that it’s important for all property owners to consider flood insurance even if they are located in areas not formerly prone to flooding.
Individuals may purchase coverage of up to $250,000 for a home or up to $500,000 for a non-residential building.
Standard flood policies provide coverage for structural damage, and may cover damage to a furnace, water heater, electrical and plumbing systems, and debris clean-up.
Don’t count on government assistance to pay for the cost of damage caused by flooding. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low interest loan, only available if the President formally declares a disaster. This kind of loan must be repaid along with any existing mortgage.
Additional information on flood insurance may be obtained at the NFIP website or at the following location on the website of the New York State Department of Financial Services — http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/flood_info.htm.
If you have questions or need help with insurance, call The New York State Department of Financial Services Hotline at (800)-342-3736.
Contact: Richard Loconte, 212-709-1691