State insurance commissioner stresses flood coverage

Homeowners and businesses in flood-prone areas should make sure they have adequate flood coverage, Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said last week.

“Standard homeowners or business policies do not cover flooding,” Kreidler said, in a press release. “It’s tragic when people don’t discover that until it’s too late.”

The federally run National Flood Insurance Program (www.floodsmart.gov) is the first stop for most people seeking flood coverage.

The program was created by Congress in 1968. It offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters and business owners in communities that have taken certain steps to help reduce the risk of flooding. There is a 30-day waiting period for most policies.

Many insurance agents offer National Flood Insurance Program policies. The average NFIP policy costs about $600 a year.

“Renters should also strongly consider flood coverage for their belongings,” Kreidler said. “That coverage, which starts at $49 a year, is inexpensive. Replacing your stuff is not.”

Mortgage lenders in flood-prone areas typically require flood coverage. But homeowners often later let that coverage lapse, Kreidler said.

The National Flood Insurance Program website has online tools to estimate the flood risk at a particular address, as well as damage estimates from different flood levels.

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