Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread today encouraged renters, homeowners, farmers and business owners to better understand their flood risk and insurance coverage following a wet autumn and heavy winter snowfall.
“I urge all North Dakotans to take the time to learn about how they can better protect themselves and their property from the destruction brought on by a flood,” Godfread said. “Traditional homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. Because there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy kicks in, this is a critical time of year for consumers to talk to their insurance agent about their policy’s limits and what other coverage options they have.”
Floods are the most common and most destructive of natural disasters in the U.S., with all 50 states having experienced floods or flash floods in the past five years, according to Floodsmart.gov. Although flood damage is not traditionally covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy, flood insurance is available for renters, homeowners and businesses as a special policy that is federally backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The NFIP is a federal program, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), responsible for providing flood insurance, improving floodplain management and developing maps of flood hazard zones. The NFIP allows property owners in participating communities to buy insurance to protect against flood losses. A homeowner can purchase excess flood insurance, but they must be covered by NFIP flood insurance first.
As many North Dakota communities have already begun to feel the devastating effects of an unprecedented wet fall, renters, homeowners, farmers and business owners must soon make critical decisions about their flood insurance coverage. To help consumers choose the right option for themselves and their families, the Department recommends consumers:
- Understand your risk. Has your property been at risk of flooding or has flooded before? FEMA works with communities across the country to identify flood hazards. Flood maps are used for flood plan management, flood insurance rating and to determine flood insurance requirements. To find your community’s flood map, visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center at msc.fema.gov/portal/search.
- Make a decision now. Traditional flood insurance policies don’t take effect until 30 days after the purchase date. Visit with an insurance agent today about purchasing a flood policy or visit floodsmart.gov for more information about the NFIP and federal flood insurance.
- Stay well-informed. For more flood resources and preparedness information, consumers can contact their insurance agent, the NFIP (floodsmart.gov) at (800) 427-4661, FEMA (fema.gov), NDResponse (ndresponse.gov) or the North Dakota Insurance Department (nd.gov/ndins) at (701) 328-2440.