We all know the storms that clobbered the Northeast the last couple of years caused widespread damage, much of it by flooding.  But it doesn’t take a hurricane like Sandy to cause flood damage to homes and businesses. Here are a few facts from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):

In the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods

Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.

Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.

Nearly 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.

So three thoughts jump out upon reading this:

  1. More people are at risk for flood damage than know they are!

  2. The cost from even minor flooding can staggering!

  3. For many, it’s likely that their homeowners insurance will not cover flood damage!

That just isn’t a good spot to be in. So, what should a homeowner do?

Get Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers and the property’s flood risk. Information about flood insurance is available on the internet. Continue to learn more.

National Flood Insurance Program
A good place to begin is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), their web site is floodsmart.gov. Another place to learn more about banks, mortgages and flood insurance is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currancy. You should visit both sites, but begin with the NFIP.

Coverage is available for homeowners, renters and condo owners/renters. In addition to structure protection there is coverage for contents as well. After looking over the NFIP web site, you ought to use their “one stop form” to learn what you risk is, see an estimate of your coverage costs and a list of local agents selling flood insurance. Keep in mind, even though flood insurance is a government program, policies are purchased through agents, not the government.

Flood Risk Profile Tests
We did a couple of tests to check this out. In the first test we used the Credit Union office address as a residence. For those not familiar, the office is in “downtown” Westport, CT, not too far from the Saugatuck River and beside a small stream. Here is what was returned. The actual web page listed several agents that offer this insurance below this graphic.

61 jesup flood

We then did another test of a residence in a higher elevation. You can see that because this was a moderate-to-low risk location, estimates of insurance costs were provided.

48 new canaan

As in the first response, a list of local agents selling flood insurance was provided.

Like a Good Scout, “Be Prepared”
There really is quite a bit of good and useful information on these web sites, but be sure to visit “Preparation & Recovery” on the NFIP web site. Here’s the Overview, but the links provide specific lists of how to prepare and protect yourself and your family (and your pets!).

Emergency Preparation

Being prepared for a flood can not only help keep your family safe, it can also help minimize potential flood damage and accelerate recovery efforts.

Along with flood insurance, you can also protect yourself by safeguarding your home and possessions, developing a family emergency plan, and understanding your policy.

Learn how to deal with a flood, both before and after it happens, right now.

Prepare Yourself Before a Flood >>

Family Plan
Disaster supply kit
Have a Safe Place to Go
Make a Pet Plan

We don’t know how many, but it’s a safe bet that many of the people that incurred serious damage from Sandy thought, “It won’t happen to me”.

Don’t be like them. Find out about flood insurance and if you are in any risk of flood damage. Visit NFIP.

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