May 3, 2011 8:19 am
RISMEDIA, May 3, 2011-With less than one month from the beginning of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are urging U.S. residents to prepare their homes and businesses for the heightened flood risks associated with hurricanes and tropical storms. Flood insurance is essential to help protect against the devastating effects of flooding, and the time to act is now; there is typically a 30 day wait before a policy takes effect.
Past hurricane seasons have shown how the consequences of seasonal flooding can be devastating; eight of the top ten most expensive federally declared disasters were caused by hurricanes. But many residents across the U.S. still lack adequate insurance protection against flood damage, causing them to absorb significant financial losses on their own or seek limited funding from other sources to rebuild or repair after a storm.
"The spring months have already brought significant flood events to many states in the U.S. As we respond to these events, we must also look forward to summer and hurricane-related weather patterns that will heighten flood risks for many," says Ed Connor, Assistant Administrator for FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration. "We encourage all residents to have a preparedness plan that includes flood insurance as a critical financial safety net to safeguard against flood losses as hurricane season approaches. Because most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, the time to get properly protected is now."
FEMA also stresses that flood risks associated with hurricane season extend beyond the Gulf and Southeastern coasts. The largest amounts of rainfall from hurricanes are often produced by slow moving storms that stall out miles from a shoreline. As these storms move inland, high winds and torrential rains increase the likelihood of flooding.
"Some residents who live further from the coast may think that they are immune to flood damage from hurricanes and seasonal storms. The fact is, floodwaters do not stop at coastlines or floodplain boundaries; everyone is at risk. It is important to insure your property no matter where you live," says Connor.
Flood insurance is available through more than 85 insurance companies in nearly 21,000 participating communities nationwide. Most everyone-renters, business owners, and homeowners-can purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is affordable, with an average flood insurance policy costing around $600 a year; in moderate- to low- risk areas, homeowners can purchase low-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) starting at just $129 a year.
Learn more about your flood risk at www.FloodSmart.gov.
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