Preparing the Northwest

brought to you by NW Insurance Council

Flood

Even if you've never experienced a flood, it’s important that you know what to do if floodwaters threaten your family, property and community.

People living in flood plains are 27 times more likely to experience a flood during their 30-year mortgage than they are to experience a fire.

Standard Homeowners, Renters and Business owners insurance policies do not cover flood loss.  Flood Insurance policies can be obtained through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.  For more details on Flood Insurance protection, call your insurance agent or company. Generally, there is a 30-day waiting period for this policy to become effective.

Click here for more Flood Insurance facts.

Here are some important points to remember if you’re a business owner:

  1. Standard Business owners Insurance Policies (BOP) do not cover losses as a result of flood.  Coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program under FEMA.
  2. Business Interruption Insurance only applies when physical damage has occurred to the covered structure of premises.
  3. A Contingency Policy that includes Business Interruption coverage is available at an additional cost.
  4. Business Interruption Insurance under a Contingency Policy would cover lost income as a result of flooding of streets that prevented customers from shopping or conducting business.
  5. Most businesses do not opt for a Contingency Policy.  Many business owners consider closed roads as a result of flood or snow as acceptable business risks.
  6. Contingency Policies include a 72-hr. waiting period before Business Interruption Insurance applies.

National Flood Insurance Program

Until the late 1960s, Flood Insurance was practically unavailable to home and business owners. In 1968, Congress voted to create the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This Federal program provides Flood Insurance at a reasonable cost in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities.

Today, you can insure almost any enclosed building and its contents against flood loss, as long as your community is participating in the NFIP.

Remember, standard Homeowners Insurance policies do not cover flood loss. For more details on Flood Insurance protection, call your agent or company today.

NFIP requires property owners who file repeated flood claims to be offered opportunities to sell their homes to the government or to prevent flood damage either by elevating or moving their homes.

Those refusing help would be denied disaster aid in subsequent floods and would eventually be subject to the full actuarial rates for flood coverage for their properties. The bill makes information on flood insurance more widely available and institutes minimum training and education requirements for agents who sell Flood Insurance.

Complaints stemming from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 showed that some people did not understand their coverage. The number of flood policies in force is growing but so are the claims. In 2003, there were 4.6 million policies in force compared with 4.5 million the previous year, the latest data available.

Premiums grew from $1.9 billion in 2003 to $2.0 billion in 2004. The number of claims jumped from 32,189 to 37,659 in 2004 and the cost of flood losses paid rose from $605.4 million to $1.2 billion in 2004. Flood damage can be expensive. The typical 2003 Flood Insurance claim was more than four times as high as the typical homeowners claim that same year.

Learn more flood facts from the NFIP.

Preparedness

The following tips from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are given as suggested guidelines for action. If you find yourself in a flood situation and do not know what to do, check with your local emergency managers.

  1. Review your Homeowners, Renters or Business owner’s insurance policy to make sure you understand what’s covered and what is not under the limits of your policy. 
  2. If you feel you are at risk to flooding, contact your insurance agent or company about obtaining Flood Insurance coverage through the NFIP.  To find out if your home is located in a flood plain, visit NFIP.
  3. Create a home inventory, an itemized list of personal property, including furnishings, clothing, and valuables. Include photographs of your home - inside and out - receipts, contracts and serial numbers. These will assist your insurance adjuster in settling claims more quickly and will help prove uninsured losses, which are tax deductible.  NW Insurance Council offers a free, downloadable Home Inventory Software from the Insurance Information Institute. Store your Home Inventory in a safe place such as a safe deposit box.
  4. Develop a Family Emergency Plan that allows you and your family to evacuate the home in the event of a catastrophe. Choose a nearby location where family members can meet. It is wise to sketch a floor plan and identify safe places where you can quickly get to incase you are unable to leave your home.
  5. Build an Emergency Survival Kit with enough food and water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours.  If a major disaster strikes, you may not be able to depend on local authorities to help you.  The kit should include such items as: first aid bag, rain gear, flashlights, candles, batteries, blankets, portable radio, basic tools, duct tape, copies of your insurance policies and other important documents, disposable camera.
  6.  Enroll your family in a first aid course and learn CPR.
  7. Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.
  8. NFIP Preparedness Tips:
    Before a Flood Strikes
    During a Flood
    Recovering from a flood

Disaster Resources

Protecting Your Home From Flood Damage. (Institute for Business & Home Safety)

NW Insurance Council

Get a free brochure:  Are You Ready? Preparing Your Family, Home & Business for a Disaster.  To order a copy, call (800) 664-4942 or e-mail info@nwinsurance.org.