Flooding is America's number one natural disaster, and all it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and its contents. You can get flood insurance for as little as $171 a year (as of April 2018, for a Preferred Risk Policy. This price is for a single family, no basement/no enclosure home used as a primary residence with $20,000 building coverage and $8,000 contents coverage). Be aware that most policies take 30 days to go into effect, so the time to prepare is now.
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk, moderate-to-low risk and undetermined-risk areas. These are the maps used by citizens, government, insurance agents and banks to determine whether flood insurance is required.
Did you know that nearly 20 percent of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk areas? In moderate-to-low risk areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced but not completely removed.
These areas not only submit over 20 percent of flood insurance claims, but also receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. Flood insurance isn’t federally required in moderate-to-low areas, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters.
Since most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover the costs of flood damage, Congress created the The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It offers flood insurance to participating homeowners, renters, and business owners. Communities that participate agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements for reducing flood risks.
DHS/FEMA provides an online hub where homeowners can take action to research their eligibility and acquire flood insurance called “Floodsmart.gov.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines the flood-related special hazard areas and the risk premium zones on community maps called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
FIRMs are the most widely distributed products of the National Flood Insurance Program. You can find along with Flood Insurance Study reports by visiting the online Map Service Center. Maps can be viewed for free or purchased. You can also create a customized FIRMette on your computer to get a true-to-scale map to determine the property location relative to the Special Flood Hazard Area.
FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) has Map Specialists are available for calls and online chats from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (Eastern Daylight Time).