POSTED: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 6:30am
UPDATED: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 6:34am
BATON ROUGE, LA — A mild winter and drought conditions may have Louisiana consumers believing they don’t need to worry about flooding, but Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon is issuing a reminder that flood damage is not covered by a basic homeowners or renters insurance policy. National Flood Safety Awareness Week, established by the National Weather Service, is a perfect time to consider local flood risks and learn important information about steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
“Earlier this week, the Lafayette area experienced a very heavy and swift rainfall causing massive flooding and widespread property damage. This demonstrates that flooding can occur at any time with no warning,” said Commissioner Donelon. “Currently only 30 percent of Louisiana households have flood insurance. It is imperative that our citizens take the necessary steps to protect themselves from this potential disaster.”
Floods can happen anywhere, at any time. They are consistently the most common, costly and deadly natural disasters Americans face each year.
Ninety percent of all natural disasters in the nation involve flooding and Louisiana residents cannot afford to ignore this threat.
Statistics from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) show that a home in a high-risk area is nearly four times more likely to be damaged by a flood than a house fire during a 30-year mortgage.
Flooding is not covered in a standard homeowners, renters or business insurance policy. Flood insurance is a separate policy provided by the NFIP and purchased through an insurance producer (agent).
A standard flood insurance policy covers up to $250,000 of flood damage to your home, including structural damage, damage to the furnace, water heater, air conditioner, floor surfaces (carpeting and tile), and debris clean-up. The contents of your home are not covered under a standard flood policy, but coverage for up to $100,000 of damage to your personal property is available for an additional premium.
According to the NFIP, the average cost for a flood insurance policy in Louisiana is under $60 per month. Properties in low-to-moderate flood zones account for approximately 35 percent of all flood claims nationwide. In these areas, the lower cost Preferred Risk Policies can cost as little as $198 a year. Be aware, flood insurance does not go into effect immediately. Most flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is urging homeowners to inventory the contents of their home in the event of property losses due to flooding or other disasters. One easy way to do this is by downloading the NAIC’s free iPhone or Android application called myHOMEscr.APP.book.
Individuals can learn more about seasonal flood risks and what to do to prepare by visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site, www.FloodSmart.gov , or by calling 1-800-427-2419. Talk to your insurance agent today to discuss your flood and property insurance needs. For additional information, contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300 or www.ldi.la.gov .