A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman
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Protecting Your Property From Floods

June 2019

Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster. In the United States, they cost $8.2 billion per year, on average.

However, even a small amount of water can be costly. Just one inch of water inside a building can cost around $25,000. Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance usually do not cover flood damage. A flood insurance policy can help protect your property and your peace of mind.

The first step in protecting your property is to know your risk. Use the FEMA Flood Map Service Center to find your official flood map. Remember, even if you do not live in a flood prone area, floods can occur. More than 20 percent of flood claims are filed from areas outside a designated high-risk flood zone. Next, call your insurance company. You'll want to ask some important questions, such as:

  • What flood zone do I live in? What is my property’s flood risk?
  • How long will it take for my flood insurance policy to go into effect? While policies may differ, it typically takes 30 days from the day you purchase flood insurance for the policy to go into effect.
  • Is flood insurance mandatory for my property?
  • Is my community part of the Community Rating System (CRS)?
      The CRS started in 1990 as a voluntary program. If you live in one of the 1,444 communities listed in the program, you may be entitled to a discounted premium rate. Visit the CRS website to learn more.
  • How much coverage should I get?
  • What will and will not be covered?
A full list of questions and resources is available on Floodsmart.gov. This site will help you understand your risk and walk you through the steps to get insured. It can also help you cut your costs and understand how to file a claim.

If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, you can contact the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Help Center at 1-800-427-4661. Ask if your community participates in the NFIP, or look it up online in the Community Status Book.

Flooding can be emotionally and financially difficult. A flood insurance policy can help you recover faster and reduce out-of-pocket payments. New flood policies typically require a 30-day waiting period before claims can be filed. So, don’t wait until it’s too late—get started today.