Insure your home against damaging flood waters
Flooding is the United States' No. 1 natural hazard. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) wants consumers to know that, while homeowner's insurance won't cover them against flooding, home and property can be protected by purchasing a flood insurance policy separately through a local insurance agent.
People may be are under the misconception that they are ineligible for flood insurance because of where they live or their mortgage status. The truth is, as long as their hometown is an NFIP community, most homeowners, business owners, and renters can get flood insurance. The NFIP urges people to remember the flood insurance basics:
You can get flood insurance:
A flood insurance policy's price depends on the property's location. In high flood risk areas, where coverage is often mandatory, policies cost more. However, most of the country falls within the low- to moderate-risk area for flooding.
The risk of flooding is still very real in these areas, as between 20-25 percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low- to moderate-risk areas.
Customers in low- to moderate-risk areas have lower cost flood insurance options available in the form of the NFIP's Preferred Risk Policies (PRP). For as little as $119 a year, homeowners can insure their property against flooding.
Many consumers don't know that the new Preferred Risk Policies are also available to business owners and renters. You have can purchase building coverage, contents coverage, or both. Building policies start at $20,000 and go up to $250,000. Contents coverage starts at $8,000 and goes up to $100,000.
In Canada, Disaster Financial Assistance may be available to help local governments, individuals, farms, businesses, and non-profit organizations to assist in restoring property to a habitable and functional state. In Manitoba, it is administered by the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO).
The maximum amount payable per claim is $100,000, is limited to 80% of the eligible costs and losses, and may be reduced by assistance received from other sources.
Assistance is generally available for pre-emptive costs directed by authorized officials; evacuation costs; and restoration costs, which may include clean-up and debris removal, restoration of structural damages and losses, and repair of essential items.
Assistance is not available for insurance losses or costs recoverable through other programs, non-essential items, loss of income or inconvenience, normal operating costs, upgrading of existing facilities or damages that are a normal risk of trade, occupation or enterprise.
Before, during and after the disaster, keep track of your activities and expenses directly relating to the event. Take photos or videos of damaged property if you can. You will need to provide documentation and invoices for expenses incurred. Obtain an application from EMO's website (www.manitobaemo.ca) or from your local authority office. Fill it out and submit it and you will be contacted by EMO to do a preliminary assessment.
The complete step-by-step process is detailed on EMO's web site.
Armed with the proper information about your flood risk and protection options, you can make a more informed decision to protect your financial investment.
The Red River Basin Commission is a grassroots organization that is a chartered not-for-profit corporation under the provisions of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota law. RRBC offices in Moorhead and Winnipeg, Manitoba can be reached at 218-291-0422 and 204-982-7254, or you can check out the Web site online at redriverbasincommission.org.