March 14, 2011
Missouri Department of Insurance: now's the time to consider flood insurance
Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 14-18
Jefferson City, Mo. - During national Flood Safety Awareness Week, Missouri's top insurance regulator is reminding consumers that now is the time to start thinking about flood protection for your home or business. John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, says flooding is a concern for all parts of Missouri all year long. But it's an especially big concern this spring, as heavy winter snowfalls could bring more flooding than usual.
Standard homeowners policies don't cover flood damage to property and possessions. Instead, coverage must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a service offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For homeowners in high-risk areas, lenders generally require this coverage. Other consumers need to make the decision on their own.
Flood insurance is available for homeowners and businesses. Policies take effect 30 days after purchase, so it's important to buy coverage before you need it. Only about 25,500 homes and businesses in Missouri have flood insurance.
"Missouri fortunately has been spared from the devastating flooding we've seen in other states already this year," said Huff. "But I encourage all Missouri consumers to talk to an insurance agent and evaluate whether they need this coverage - even a flash flood can mean heavy financial damage."
The cost of coverage depends on how much insurance is needed, what's covered and the flood risk of the area. The NFIP website has a "one-step flood risk profile" - a calculator that uses the address and value of your property to estimate your premium.
Huff says consumers with questions should contact their homeowners insurance agent or the NFIP at floodsmart.gov or 800-379-9531.They can also contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or online at insurance.mo.gov.
Note to media: The number of flood insurance policies in effect in specific cities and counties in Missouri is available at http://bsa.nfipstat.com/reports/1011.htm#MOT.