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Carole Walker, RMIIA

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7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming

Carole Walker, Executive Director
303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524

Hurricane Sandy Reminds Colorado Homeowners, Renters & Business Owners that NOW is the Time to Consider Flood Insurance.

November 5, 2012 – The devastating images of the Northeast underwater is a stark reminder to Coloradans that they need to consider separate flood coverage to protect their property, personal belongings and businesses. Your car is covered for flood damage only if you purchase optional "comprehensive" coverage.

"It's estimated that up to 25 percent of flood claims are filed in lower risk areas," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "So, all homeowners, at least, need to consider purchasing additional flood coverage." There is also increased flood risk in wildfire burn areas and updated FEMA flood maps place some in higher flood hazard areas. Additionally, winter storm season adds to flooding concerns with snow melt frequently causing surface water damage.

While the physical damage caused by Hurricane Sandy from high winds and downed trees is covered by personal and commercial insurance, many homeowners affected by the flood do not have insurance, so they are left struggling with how to recover from the disaster. About 13 percent of homeowners countrywide have flood insurance, and out West the number of policies in force is only about 6 percent.

Flood insurance is not covered under a standard homeowners, renters or business insurance policy, but it can be purchased through your insurance agent or company representative. Flood insurance must be in place 30 days in advance of the flood, so if you are concerned about the heightened risk, now is the time to check into flood insurance.

Flood insurance is funded federally through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and your community must participate for you to be eligible. It is also important to know what your flood insurance policy covers, as there are separate policies for contents and structure, as well as limits of $300,000 for residential coverage and $500,000 for business policies.

Flood Insurance Q&A

Q. Can I buy flood insurance if I am located in a high-flood-risk area?
You can buy National Flood Insurance no matter where you live if your community participates in the NFIP, except in Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas. In fact, lenders must require borrowers whose property is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally regulated loan.

Q. Can I buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood?
You can purchase Flood insurance at any time. However, there is a 30-day waiting period after you've applied and paid the premium before the policy is effective.

Q. Is flood insurance only available for homeowners?
Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums, apartments and non-residential buildings including commercial structures.

Q. I don't live in a high-flood-risk zone, so why would I purchase flood insurance?
Even if you live in an area that is not flood-prone, it is advisable to have flood insurance. Between 20 percent and 25 percent of the NFIP's claims come from outside high-flood-risk areas. The NFIP's Preferred Risk Policy, starting at just over $100 per year, is designed for residential properties located in low-to-moderate-flood risk zones.

Q. Does NFIP offer any type of basement coverage?
Some. The NFIP defines a basement as any area of a building with a flood that is below ground level on all sides. While flood insurance does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors or ceilings, or personal belongings that may be kept in the basement, such as furniture and other contents, it does cover structural elements, essential equipment and other basic items normally located in a basement. Many of these items are covered under building coverage, and some are covered under contents coverage.

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Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.

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