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
September 2013 Colorado Floods: Insurance Wake-Up Call!
September 9, 2014 – The September 2013 Colorado flooding was unprecedented in its damage and devastation but proved once again that the unthinkable can happen, and we need to take preparedness steps BEFORE disaster strikes. At the time of the flooding only an estimated 22,000 flood insurance policies were in force statewide, and a year later FEMA reports the number of policies at 24,000. That left the vast majority of the estimated 18,000 homes destroyed without flood insurance, and the same would be true if history repeats itself in 2014.
"The heartbreak of Colorado's most damaging natural disaster is that the majority of property owners did not have flood insurance and relied on more limited federal disaster aid or government loans to recover," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "This is another tragic wake-up call that flood damage to property will only be covered if you carry a separate flood insurance policy. Homeowners and renters also need a separate flood insurance policy for damage to their personal belongings."
Last September's flooding should alert homeowners, renters and businesses that they need to at least consider purchasing flood coverage—even if they don't live in a flood zone since up to 20% of claims come from low to moderate risk areas. During the past 10 years, the average flood claim has amounted to over $33,000. Flood insurance is not covered under a standard homeowners or renter's insurance policy, but it can be purchased through your insurance agent or company representative. Flood insurance is covered through policies purchased and handled through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flood insurance must be in place 30 days in advance of the flood. Your car is covered for flood damage if you purchase optional "comprehensive" coverage.
Links to more information on flooding and flood insurance:
DO AN ANNUAL INSURANCE CHECK-UP
Understanding what is and isn't covered in your homeowners insurance policy can mean the difference of being able to rebuild your home and replace your personal belongings. Homeowners need to do annual insurance policy "check-ups" to make sure they keep up with local building costs and have adjusted their coverage to include home remodeling and additions.
- If you don't have replacement coverage, consider spending a few extra dollars for coverage that pays for the cost of replacing the damaged property without deduction for depreciation. Ask about endorsements for sewer back-up and building code upgrades.
KNOW WHAT IS & ISN'T COVERED
The typical homeowners insurance policy covers damage resulting from fire, windstorm, hail, water damage (excluding flooding), riots and explosion as well as other causes of loss, such as theft and the extra cost of living elsewhere while the structure is being repaired or rebuilt.
- Hail and flood damage to your car is covered only if you have purchased optional comprehensive insurance on your auto policy.
- The standard policy does not cover flooding, so you may want to look into flood insurance coverage if you're concerned that you're at risk for rising floodwaters.
CREATE A HOME INVENTORY
Make a home inventory that includes lists, pictures or a videotape of the contents of your home or apartment. After all, would you be able to remember all the possessions you've accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a tornado or fire? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
For more consumer information on insurance topics, logon to www.rmiia.org.
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.