Flood Insurance and What you Need to Know

By: Martin Van Nostrand

With even state and national governments finding their budgets taxed by flood costs, individual property owners can't afford to go without flood insurance. Even damage from a burst water main is likely to be considered ineligible for payments from a property policy. The government has increased efforts to warn property owners of flood risk in light of recent disasters.

Flooding is an almost universal danger in developed areas-factors such as drainage, snowmelt and manmade water systems can contribute to disaster. Heavy rain is not necessary for a flood to occur. A good flood insurance policy will cover these bases for you, allowing you to enjoy security for your home or business.

Thousands of communities face hidden flood dangers. Insulated from the coast, not known for heavy rain, residents in some areas are likely to underestimate the risk of flooding. The government and insurance companies have taken steps to inform New Jersey residents of the importance of flood insurance.

A cornerstone of governmental information campaigns on flooding has been the fact that it can strike almost anywhere. Factors such as flat ground and poor water absorption can increase the risk. Ground that is frozen hard or baked dry on top is likely to whisk water your way. Rapidly developing communities are sometimes given a shock when the first rainfall reveals deficiencies in their drainage systems.

The trials of communities facing floods in both England and North America have been front-page news. The message coming from many government agencies is that when it comes to flooding, property owners can pay now or pay later. Paying now is usually the more attractive option-although the dented bottom lines of many insurers may make some say otherwise.

Court battles over insurance claims resulting from disasters such as Katrina have left hard feelings on the side of both victims and insurers. Recent rulings have pointed more strongly to the need for home and business owners to purchase flood insurance alongside their property insurance policies.

The federal government has established a clearinghouse for flood risk assessments and flood insurers. The site contains tools that can rate your flood risk based on your address, as well as help you estimate what your premium will cost.

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