Flood insurance facts

In addition to the flooding caused by the storm surge along the coast, inland flooding can be a major worry for communities hundreds of miles from the coast that experience intense rainfall associated with a storm.

During hurricane season, the importance of having flood insurance is heightened.

For people living in a flood-prone area, purchasing flood insurance is one of the best ways to protect your property from loss." Flood insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program . 

Policies can be purchased through your insurance agent or company. However you must plan ahead because there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage becomes effective.

The standard flood policy for homeowners covers structural damage, your air conditioner, furnace, water-heater and clean up associated with a flood. In addition, you can purchase coverage for the contents of your home as part of the flood policy.

Historically, about a quarter of flood claims come from areas not designated as high risk, and hurricanes are a common cause for these floods.

Flood homeowners should take photos or videos of all important possessions and store important documents and irreplaceable personal possessions where they won't get damaged.

It is a good idea to buy and install sump pumps with back up power, install backflow valves or plugs to prevent flood waters from entering the home through the sewer connection. The washer and dryer, electrical connections, furnace, and water heater should also be elevated 12 inches above the projected flood level.

After a flood, call your insurance agent or broker who handles your flood insurance policy if your home, apartment or business has suffered flood damage. The agent will then submit a loss form to the NIFP program.

An adjuster will be assigned to inspect your property as soon as possible.

Other tips include:

  • Prior to entering a building, check for structural damage.
  • Upon entering the building, do not use an open flame as a source of light since gas may be trapped inside.
  • Watch for electrical shorts or live wires before making certain that the main power switch is turned off.
  • Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
  • Cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls to prevent further weather damage.
  • Proceed with immediate cleanup measures to prevent health hazards.
  • Refrigerators, sofas and other hard goods should be hosed off and kept for the adjuster's inspection.