Equifax

Finance Blog

Flood Insurance: What To Do Before, During and After a Flood

Written by Linda Rey on June 10, 2010 in Insurance  |   3 comments

It’s hard to imagine that something so good for us can wreak so much havoc. But water, in the form of floods, has caused extensive, and expensive, damage across the country. Insurers used to believe that you needed flood insurance only if you were in…

Flood insurance informationIt’s hard to imagine that something so good for us can wreak so much havoc. But water, in the form of floods, has caused extensive, and expensive, damage across the country.

Insurers used to believe that you needed flood insurance only if you were in a flood zone. But flood zones have been expanded in recent years, and many homeowners who were not in traditional flood zones now live in them.

Even homeowners who don’t live in high hazard flood zones have found that their homes can be ruined by a flood. Recently, one of our clients had many of his possessions destroyed when his basement flooded-in his house on top of a hill.

Residential and commercial properties can be at risk for flooding from heavy rains and/or melting snow. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): “Anywhere it rains, it can flood. A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.”

Insurance helps make us whole in the event of physical damage to property. But most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so you might want to evaluate your situation and the need for flood insurance on top of your regular homeowner’s policy.

I’m sure that you, like most consumers, invest a lot of time, money, and effort into maintaining your property. You can mitigate or even prevent damage to your property if you follow these guidelines for what to do before, during, and after a flood.

Before a Flood:

  1. Buy the right insurance. Discuss with your agent if flood insurance is appropriate for you. Flood insurance may be mandatory if you live in a high-risk area and if your mortgagor,requires it. You may or may not need an elevation certificate to determine the lowest elevation of the property based on your community’s flood insurance rate map (FIRM). The NFIP reports the average annual flood insurance premium is $570.
  2. Be organized. Keep a file (protected from water exposure in a safe place, like a safe-deposit box) that contains a copy of your flood policy, your agent contact information, and an inventory of receipts and photos or a video of each room. You may even want to create an electronic file containing your scanned insurance policy, receipts, and photos or a video and back it up in several different locations.
  3. Make sure your mechanical systems work and are protected. Invest in a sump pump for the lowest elevation prone to flooding and consider installing a battery-operated backup in the event of a power failure. Install an alarm to detect any water accumulation on the lowest-elevation floor. Clear your gutters so water gets moved away from your foundation. Protect fuel tanks, appliances, and the furnace by elevating them a foot off the ground floor.

During a Flood:

  1. Turn off the power if you are instructed to do so by emergency authorities.
  2. Go to higher ground or areas not subject to flooding.
  3. Do not walk or navigate in flooded areas.
  4. Make sure you and your family are safe.

After a Flood:

  1. Call your agent to report the claim. Have your policy information handy. Once the claim is filed, an adjuster will be assigned to assess your property and the damage.
  2. Make sure the property is safe prior to entry.
  3. Take photos of damaged areas you can access without risk.
  4. Inventory damaged and/or lost items with referencing receipts and photos to help determine their value.
  5. Consult an electrician to determine whether it’s safe to turn on the utilities.
  6. Protect your health by boiling water, disinfecting items that were possibly contaminated by floodwaters, and drying out contents to prevent mold.

The National Flood Insurance Program lapsed on May 31, 2010 after several efforts to extend the program were not passed by Congress.

Ed note: We will continue to monitor the situation on the National Flood Insurance Program and update this post with any news on any legislation.

UPDATE 7/1/2010: The Senate passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 5569), extending the NFIP until September 30. The bill is retroactive and covers the lapsed period from June 1, 2010, to the date of enactment of the extension, and will allow currently stalled transactions to move forward. Any new policy applications or renewals that were signed and submitted during the lapsed period will be effective from the date of application. In the case of waiting periods, the waiting period will start from the date of application.

UPDATE 7/16/2010: Today the House voted to update the federal flood-insurance program. The program, run by FEMA, provides over five million homeowners and businesses with subsidized flood insurance.

UPDATE 9/21/2010: Today the Senate voted (S.3814) to extend the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2011.

Congress hasn’t updated the program since 1994 and since then it’s been hit with some heavy debt. Losses have been in the billions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other floods in highly populated risk areas.

Updates to the bill include permitting an increase in premiums, deductibles and coverage and phasing out subsidies for vacation homes and homes located in areas repeatedly hit by floods.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, nearly 21,000 communities participate in the program. To find out if your community is one of them and how much a flood insurance policy at your specific address will cost visit floodsmart.org.

Check back here for updates on the bill, the updates in the bill, if it passes the Senate and what it will mean for taxpayers.

For more information on how flood insurance will help protect your property, consult with your agent and visit the websites of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.
Follow Linda on Twitter.

Read More.

Flood Insurance: What to do Before, During and After a Flood

3 comments

  1. Kate Hudson says:

    Basement flooding can be severe, call our professionals today for fast efficient service for all your water damage repair needs.

  2. Kate Hudson says:

    Basement flooding can be severe, call our professionals today for fast efficient service for all your water damage repair needs.

  3. peter kenneth says:

    thank you for the priceless suggestions …. it will really help .. keep it up guys :-) http://www.caremasterclean.com/


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Insurance Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter