Do You Have Flood Insurance?

With less than a month to the official start of hurricane season, it's time to get ready. One of the most important things to consider is your insurance coverage, particularly flood insurance. And you had better get it soon if you are in a flood-prone area: you have to have flood insurance in effect for at least 30 days before the flooding occurs, or you won't be covered.

Who do you go to if you need flood insurance? You can get it from private insurers, but if you really "need" it, you can expect it to be expensive. You might consider the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Now FEMA may have a bad reputation because of the repeated debacles after Hurricane's Katrina and Rita, but here's an interesting fact for those of you considering insurance: FEMA has closed almost 95% of claims for 2004. Flood claims can be difficult to close, given the kinds of damage that can occur and the complexity of determining where damage came from. On top of that, the 2005 hurricane season has kept the NFIP incredibly busy. With that in mind, a 95% close rate is evidence that NFIP is working to ensure that its clients are getting the service they require when a claim is filed.  

Unfortunately, not all people who live in flood-plain areas have flood insurance. NFIP is hoping that they can get100 percent of us insured. But that can't happen if you don't contact them or another insurer and get that policy.

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