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Contact:
Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
kenton.brine@nwinsurance.org
sandi.henke@nwisurance.org
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Heavy rains remind homeowners: Now is the time to consider Flood Insurance

SEATTLE – Heavy rains over the Halloween weekend prompted flood watches in Western Washington, reminding homeowners and business owners that now is the time to consider buying flood insurance. Every year floods put people at risk of injury and threaten homes, businesses and vehicles with serious damage that is not covered by Homeowners or Business Owners Insurance. 

Even in drought-stricken Central and Eastern Washington, the destructive 2014-15 wildfire seasons deforested thousands of acres across the region, increasing the risk of flash floods and mudflows every time there is heavy rainfall.

Standard Homeowners and Business Insurance policies do not cover losses by flooding or mudflow, but insurance is available for participating communities through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and may be available from insurance companies in your area.

A 30-day waiting period usually is required before your Flood Insurance policy goes into effect. However, for flooding and mud flows originating from wildfire-burned Federal land, there is an exception to the standard waiting period.

According to NFIP, if a property is affected by flooding on burned Federal land as a result of post-wildfire conditions, a Flood Insurance policy will cover the property without a 30-day waiting period if the policy was purchased within 60 days of the fire containment date and prior to any flooding or mudflow damage to the property.

“The first step to determine if your property qualifies for the National Flood Insurance Program is to contact your insurance agent or your company,” said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president, adding that residents can also visit the NFIP website at FloodSmart.gov, enter their address and find out if they are in a flood-prone area.

“Emergency Management experts report that 26 percent of flood losses occur in areas not designated as flood zones, such as what we’ve seen recently in South Carolina and Texas,” Brine said. “Now is the time to consider flood insurance, even if you haven’t before.”

Water saturation can also lead to landslides, so property owners should also know that coverage for losses that come from landslides are not covered by standard Homeowners policies and are not offered or included in the NFIP. Landslide Insurance requires a Difference in Conditions Policy from a specialty lines insurance carrier.

NW Insurance Council and NFIP offer these tips as you consider purchasing Flood Insurance to protect your home during the rainy season: 

  • Review your Homeowners and Flood Insurance policies now before flooding happens.
  • Check with your agent or insurance company for more details about how you can protect yourself against the devastating effects of floods and mudflows and to help you get Flood Insurance rates from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • If you are at risk for flooding, buy as much flood coverage as you can, up to the value of your home or business structure.  Primary residences insured for at least 80 percent of their value, or for the maximum amounts allowed, get replacement cost coverage.
  • Be disaster ready.  Become familiar with your community’s disaster preparedness plans and create a family plan ahead of time, before a flood threatens. Consider preparing a 3-day disaster kit.
  • Develop a home inventory of your personal property. You can access free, downloadable Home Inventorysoftware from the Insurance Information Institute.
  • Consider purchasing optional Comprehensive, or Other Than Collision, coverage to provide recovery from damage to your vehicle from a landslide or flooding.

For more information or copies of brochures titled Are You Ready? Preparing Your Family, Home & Business For a Disaster and Your Guide to Insurance, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education and public policy organization funded by member insurance companies in Washington, Oregon & Idaho.

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