Flood Prevention and Safety

HowFloodInsuranceWorks

Flood prevention and safety 

Almost anywhere it rains, it can flood. Even if you live in an area that you think isn’t at risk, preparation is just as critical as with other types of emergencies.

Before we get into how you can prevent, limit or react to flooding, it’s important to note that flood damage is typically not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. There are specialized flood insurance programs that we at West Town Insurance Agency can discuss with you. Just contact us at (252) 368-4017 or info@westtownins.com for more information if you live in North Carolina.

 Preparing for a flood

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends a number of steps to stay safe during emergencies and limit damage from flooding. You should:

Build an emergency kit for your family containing such items as drinking water and nonperishable food for each member of your family (two-week supply), flashlights,  a radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, necessary medications, personal hygiene items and copies of important documents.

Create a communication plan so family members can reach one another.

Elevate your furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if live in an area with a high flood risk.

Consider installing “check valves” to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.

If possible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering your home and seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds.

Acting during a flood

 If a flood is likely in your area, quick action may be necessary to protect your family and property. You should:

Get information from the radio or television.

Move immediately to higher ground if there is any possibility of a flash flood. Do not wait for instructions to move.

If you need to evacuate, secure your home and move essential items to an upper floor. Turn off utilities if instructed to do so, and disconnect electrical appliances. However, do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

Do not walk through moving water — it can make you fall. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

Do not drive into flooded areas. If you are caught in your vehicle in floodwater, abandon your car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.

If you have evacuated your home, do not return until authorities tell you it is safe.

Coping after a flood

 Flooding can cause emotional stress along with physical hazards, so be mindful of the well-being of you and your family during the aftermath.

Floodwater can be contaminated by oil, gasoline or sewage, so avoid contact as much as possible.

Make sure your city’s water supply is safe to drink.

Clean and disinfect everything that was in contact with floodwater.

The Red Cross has a free book available called “Repairing Your Flooded Home,” which contains useful information as you clean up. It’s available at www.redcross.org. Of course, don’t hesitate to contact us as well — we’re ready to help!

If you have flood insurance, contact the claims center of your provider as soon as possible.

Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the U.S. Being prepared for any emergency is crucial for the safety of you and your family. Don’t be caught off guard!

Flood Insurance Quote

If you would like a Free Flood Insurance Quote, submit the following information and one of our agents will contact you.

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Flood Insurance: How it works

HowFloodInsuranceWorks

The National Flood Insurance Program

Historically, flooding has brought damage and destruction to communities across the United States. In order to help alleviate the financial devastation caused by flooding, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. The NFIP, overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), enables homeowners, business owners, and renters in participating communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing flood damage to buildings and their contents. You can get flood insurance:
• If you live or own a business in a high-risk area (or Special Flood Hazard Area, known
as an SFHA).
• If you live or own a business in a moderate to low-risk area—and possibly at a lower
cost.
• If your home or business has been flooded before.
• If your mortgage company doesn’t require it.

Flood Insurance Basics

All properties are at some risk for flooding. The NFIP is dedicated to making property owners and renters aware of the need for flood insurance—not only among those who live and work in high-risk areas, but those in moderate- to low-risk areas, too. Properties
located outside of the mapped high-risk areas are not exempt from flooding. Their risk, while reduced, is not removed.

Consumers need to know that most homeowners policies do not cover flooding. Only a flood insurance policy will financially protect you from flood damage costs. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, business owners, and renters for both a building and its contents.

Homeowners can insure a home for up to $250,000 and its contents for up to $100,000. Renters can cover their belongings for up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure a building and its contents for up to $500,000 each. The average premium for a
yearly flood insurance policy is about $700 per year.

Flood Insurance Requirements

Residents and business owners who live or work in an SFHA are required to purchase flood insurance if they have acquired a loan from a federally regulated and insured lender, and they must carry the insurance for the life of the loan. Those outside of mapped SFHAs can also purchase flood insurance, and they may be eligible for a lower-cost policy (called a Preferred Risk Policy). The NFIP encourages all residents to learn about their flood risk and to protect themselves with flood insurance.

How to Purchase Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is sold and serviced by insurance agents in more than 22,000 communities nationwide. To purchase a policy, call us at 252-368-4017.

Waiting Period

• There typically is a 30-day waiting period when purchasing a new policy. There are exceptions to the waiting period.  Talk to your agent to see if any of those exceptions apply to your situation.

What’s Insured under Building Property Coverage*

• The insured building and its foundation
• The electrical and plumbing systems
• Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
• Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
• Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
• Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
• Window blinds
• Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a
separate building property policy
• Debris removal

What’s Insured under Personal Property (Contents Coverage)*

• Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
• Curtains
• Portable and window air-conditioners
• Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
• Carpets not included in building property coverage (see above)
• Clothes washers and dryers (even in a basement)
• Food freezers and the food in them (even in a basement)
• Certain valuable items, such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

What’s Not Insured Either by Building Property or Personal Property Coverage*

• Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
• Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates
• Property and belongings outside of a building, such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences,
seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools
• Living expenses such as temporary housing
• Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property
• Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts (see Section IV.5 in your policy)

* This is a partial list of coverage. Refer to the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) for a description and full list of coverage and exclusions.

 

*Source: National Flood Insurance Program – March 2015  www.FloodSmart.gov

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