2011-03-12 / News

Flood insurance can minimize losses from floods

COLUMBUS - As the flood waters begin to recede around the state, Ohioans are beginning to assess the damage caused by the recent rains and flooding. Ohio Lt. Governor and Ohio Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor reminded Ohioans that purchasing flood insurance can offset much of the cost of the damage caused by flood waters and encouraged them to consider purchasing flood insurance before another flood hits their area.

“This is Ohio, and as we know, we are likely to experience varying degrees of weather related issues throughout the year, including flooding,” said Taylor. “Homeowners should assess their potential risk for flooding and speak with their insurance company or insurance agent to determine if purchasing flood insurance is a good choice for them.”

Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in any Ohio community that participates in the program. People who live in designated areas prone to flooding and have a mortgage backed by the federal government are required to purchase flood insurance. While not mandated, it is advisable that anyone who lives in flood-prone areas should consider purchasing flood insurance.

Even in areas less prone to flooding, homeowners can still purchase flood insurance if they live in a community that participates in the NFIP. Your personal insurance agent should be able to tell you if your community participates in the NFIP program and assist you in determining if the insurance is appropriate and affordable.

It’s also important to note that while you can purchase flood insurance at any time, there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to become effective.

Tips for purchasing flood insurance

* Contact your insurance agent or company to inquire about flood insurance. Even though flood insurance is a federal program, private insurance companies sell the policies.

* The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) can also be a source for helping citizens and agents determine if there is a flood hazard area and how the mandatory purchase requirements could impact consumers in those areas.

* Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums, apartments and non-residential buildings, including commercial structures and their contents.

* The NFIP offers basement flood coverage for structural elements, essential equipment and other basic items normally located in a basement.

* The NFIP encourages people to purchase both building and contents coverage for the broadest protection.

Where to get more information about NFIP:

• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Natural Hazards Division: 1-888-CALL-FLOOD (http:// www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/ pages/index.jsp).

• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Floodplain Management Program Office: (614) 265-6750 (http://www.dnr. state.oh.us).

The Ohio Department of Insurance regulates agents and companies that are licensed to sell insurance in our state. The Department’s Consumer Services representatives can answer your insurance questions and investigate your complaints about an insurance company or agent. Call 1-800-686-1526 or visit www.insurance.ohio.gov.

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