FEMA urges homeowners to buy flood insurance

If there was ever a time to buy flood insurance is now, according to FEMA and national flood officials. Drastic weather changes in some specific regions across the U.S. are expected in the coming years. Many of our communities are already underwater. Floods are simply among the deadliest natural disasters in the United States. The average rainfall that scientists expect, partly caused by global warming, will add to flooding, especially in the south and central states.

As in the past, FEMA’s main concern are homeowners that don’t currently have flood insurance. Homeowners that financed their properties federally should have flood policies since this is a requirement to get the loan.  These loans are defined as federally funded when owned by enterprises owned by the government like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and so on. However, flood insurance is not mandatory for homeowners who have no mortgages – renters are also included in this group.

So exactly why should homeowners and renters who don’t reside in a floodplain consider flood coverage? Basically, flooding is not restricted to areas at risk of flooding and renters’ or homeowners’ policies will not cover flooding. Recent statistics by the National Flood Insurance Program show that over 20 percent of people living outside a flood zone file national flood insurance claims every year. If you live at least 50 feet of FEMA designated flood zone, you should certainly consider flood insurance.

Back in 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to financially protect property owners and renters from flooding. This is when flood insurance became available for the first time. Then in 1973, flood insurance became mandatory for properties located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. Communities that participate in NFIP have the benefit of reduced premiums. But flood claims have increased over the years. In 2017, the average annual insurance policy premium was approximately $700. Currently, coverage for properties outside high-risk flood areas can be obtained for as little as $250 to $350 per year – limited to individual property.

Most people in flood zones understand and accept the risks associated with their location. But what about those outside those areas, or those who don’t even know what type of area they live in? At the present time, it’s crucial you find out whether you live near or farther from a flood zone, and how this level of risk can impact your property. Once the location of your property has been established, you can access your need for insurance and determine which flood insurance provider is more suitable for your specific area.

When comparing this year’s potential flooding to back in 2011, many scientists conclude that climate change is in part to blame for the changes. But how big of a role is climate change playing? Most scientists agree that floodplains can rise to about 45 percent by the end of the century, and climate has something to do with it – a warmer atmosphere will dump more water. So far, the United States has heated up approximately 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit and become 4 percent wetter. Basically, because of global warming, when it rains it pours more with an average of 40 percent total increase in precipitation and 10 percent more in intense rainfall.  

So, if you decide to shop for flood insurance, make sure you do some research first. Premiums can vary widely by state. Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last raindrop falls. Keep in mind, there is a 30-day waiting period before you can start receiving coverage.

Sources
  • https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

  • https://www.floodsmart.gov/

  • https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/435

  • https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2019/07/23/buy-flood-insurance-now

  • https://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/FloodInsuranceInfo_SprSum.aspx

  • https://www.nrdc.org/stories/flooding-and-climate-change-everything-you-need-know

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