Flood Insurance: Be Safe, Not Sorry


Hurricane season has begun. And, if your family just received PCS orders to Louisiana, Mississippi or other high-risk areas (areas prone to flooding) it's best to prepare. In fact, U.S. scientists expect at least four to six hurricanes to reach parts of the South, Southeast and Northeast.

In an effort to financially prepare Americans for the impending storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strongly encourages military and civilian families to purchase flood insurance.

The damage

Hurricane Katrina was the most damaging and costly storm in U.S. history. The storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and partially destroyed part of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines. What's more, Hurricane Katrina is responsible for $75 billion of damages. Unfortunately, many homeowners in the affected areas are still financially recovering.

"Memories of the most active and costliest hurricane season are still fresh in the minds of all Americans," says David Paulison, acting director of FEMA in a press release. "The storms of 2005 proved a painful reminder that many homeowners lack adequate flood protection."

Get flood insurance now

Now is the time to purchase a flood insurance policy. A homeowner's insurance policy doesn't cover flooding, and even a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage.

"Flood insurance is a vital investment to ensure that residents have adequate protection against the devastation flooding can cause," says David Maurstad, a federal insurance administrator and director of FEMA's Mitigation Division. "If you live in a high-risk area you need to be covered by flood insurance."

Several insurance companies, such as the Armed Forces Insurance Exchange, offer affordable flood insurance policies to servicemembers and their families. The average insurance premium costs about $500 a year. What's more, homeowners in high-risk areas might be eligible for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy that starts at $112 a year.

*Quick Tip: It's also important to purchase flood insurance early. A typical policy has a 30-day wait before it goes into effect. And, if homeowners wait to buy a policy it might not cover flood damages retroactively.

Flood insurance is one of the best ways to insulate your family from the financial damage of a hurricane. Get flood insurance and be safe, not sorry.

The First Step

After reading about flood insurance, you're probably wondering about cost. Start by shopping around: find the best rate on your homeowner's policy and use the savings to pay for the additional coverage - your homeowner's policy broker may also be able to bundle coverage or connect you with the policies you need.


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