Many homeowners do not realize that their basic homeowners insurance does not include protection from flood damage, and that flood insurance must be purchased as a separate policy.
The Division of Insurance does not regulate flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federally subsidized program available to any property owner —homeowners, renters, condominium owners and associations — whether or not the property is in floodplain. National Flood Insurance costs about $1 a day, on average, depending on location and the type of coverage chosen. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period after applying and paying the first premium for the insurance to become effective. Coverage choices include insuring just the structure of a home or also including its contents.
- Floods can happen in high, medium, and low-risk flood zones
As we in Colorado know, floods can happen anywhere, anytime. Often, they accompany natural disasters such as storms, early snowmelts or rising rivers, but not always. About 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from outside of high-risk areas.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) at www.floodsmart.gov. These maps help determine the amount of flood risk and if flood insurance is required. You can view the maps to determine if your property is in a flood-prone area. You can also enter your address to get an estimated flood risk profile.
- Buying flood insurance
Contact your insurance agent about buying flood insurance. If you do not have an agent or your agent does not sell flood insurance, contact the NFIP at 1-888-724-6924 (1-888-724-6924) or go to www.floodsmart.gov to get the name of an agent in your area. National Flood Insurance is sold through a private insurance agent selling it to a community that has joined NFIP. Through the NFIP, the federal government makes flood insurance available in communities that have reduced future flood risks. Over 19,000 communities in the U.S. and its territories participate in the NFIP. At www.floodsmart.gov you can also enter your address to get an estimated flood risk profile.