Flood Insurance Confusion | 6/8/2011
FEMA`s national flood insurance program is pretty much the only game in town. The program covers up to $250 thousand and homeowners can only purchase excess policies through Lloyds of London. As the water inches closer, many people are asking a lot of questions about flood insurance. Wednesday, an insurance specialist with FEMA briefed a group of professionals about the program and answered quite a few questions.
Jan Hoge is settling into her new home, a motor home on a piece of property she and her husband own north of Bismarck.
“We`re very lucky that we have it because at least it`s another home to me and I`m in a comfortable surrounding and it`s how I keep my mental health going,” says Jan.
The Hoge`s have owned a home on Hoge Island since the mid 70s and don`t have flood insurance because they didn`t think they`d need it since the water has never come near their home since the dam was built.
“It wasn`t that people were gambling on anything. No. No one would every do that with their home. It was just felt that it wasn`t needed,” says Hoge.
The Hoge`s aren`t the only ones with the same problem. FEMA declared the flood event began on June 1st and there`s a 30 day waiting period for policies to go into effect. That means policies needed to have been purchased by May 2nd.
“Essentially we said, `We want this to be insurance` so people bought for peace of mind, to protect their property and if people were to run in after an event, it makes it very, very difficult to make insurance work,” says FEMA Insurance Specialist Norman Ashford.
FEMA`s flood insurance program is a basic plan and only covers direct structural damage. So that means things like your landscaping, deck attached to your house, or fencing will not be covered. Anything sub-grade, like your basement or crawlspace has restrictions in coverage. Insurance will cover anything except for finish, like wainscoting and content. It will cover drywall, studs, insulation, washer and dryer, freezer (not refrigerator) and its contents.
“We want everyone covered. I had 18 phone calls yesterday. People were very, very nice and everyone we talked to we wanted to let them know we`re doing all we can to help,” says Ashford.
So what about people like the Hoge`s who don`t have flood insurance? It`s possible that the president can declare an emergency to provide individual assistance, things like grants that people can apply for. Jan says she`s just going to have to wait and see what happens, but she`s keeping a positive attitude.
“We will come back bigger and better than ever,” she says.
Flood insurance also doesn`t cover groundwater, sewer backups, or seepage, unless it can be connected to a flood event, which could be the case for many in Bismarck-Mandan. FEMA says if there`s any doubt, file a claim. If you`re denied, you can always appeal. Claims need to be filed within 60 days of the event.
Also, homeowners with flood insurance can be reimbursed up to $1 thousand for mitigation efforts, like sandbagging. FEMA does require some sort of mitigation be attempted to claim a loss.
As far as mold damage goes, there also needs to be proof of some type of effort to prevent it, even if it`s just a few Clorox bottles.
Also, take a lot of pictures, with the date.
If you’ve got questions about flood or water damage please call Disaster Restoration Experts at 303-801-0300.
reposted from: http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_Stories.asp?news=49805