Floods are a year-round hazard, even in cold weather. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it’s important to understand the unique flood risks associated with winter and prepare an emergency plan well in advance of any snowstorm and subsequent flooding.
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that their insurance policy covers flooding, but only flood insurance financially protects properties from damage. It typically takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to take effect, so residents should not wait for a storm to strike before purchasing coverage. It only takes a few inches of water in a home or business to cause thousands of dollars of damage – between 2006 and 2010, the average flood claim was nearly $34,000!
While no one wants a flood to impact their home, federally-backed flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers a financial safety net to help cover repair or replacement costs.
If your home has experienced flooding, file a claim by contacting your insurance agent, documenting your damaged property and filing a Proof of Loss form within 60 days of the flood. Keep in mind as you go through this process that you do not need to wait for a Presidential Disaster Declaration to file a flood claim, and your policy cannot be canceled for making a claim.