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There are few places on Earth where people need not be concerned about flooding. Any place where rain falls is vulnerable, although rain is not the only momentum for a flood. A flood can occur when water overflows or overruns land that’s normally dry. This can happen in a multitude of ways. Most common is when rivers or streams overflow their banks. Excessive rain, a fractured dam or levee, rapid ice melting in the mountains, or even an unfortunately placed beaver dam can overwhelm a river and send it spreading over the adjacent land, called a floodplain. Coastal flooding occurs when a large storm or tsunami causes the sea to surge inland.
Residents have sufficient time to evacuate or prepare themselves because floods usually take hours or days to develop. However, others generate quickly and with little or no warning. Disaster experts classify floods according to their likelihood of occurring in a given time period. A hundred-year flood, for example, is an extremely large, destructive event that would theoretically be expected to happen only once every century. But this is a theoretical number. In reality, this classification means there is a one-percent chance that such a flood could happen in any given year. Hundred-year floods have been occurring worldwide, possibly due to the vast change in climate.
It should be made mandatory that residents of flood-prone areas purchase flood insurance and build flood-resistant structures. Massive efforts to alleviate and redirect inevitable floods have resulted in some of the most ambitious engineering efforts ever seen and highly advanced computer modeling now. Disaster authorities predict with amazing accuracy where floods will occur and how severe they’re likely to be.
Flood insurance indicates the specific insurance coverage against property loss from flooding. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers and the property’s flood risk. All policy forms provide coverage for buildings and contents. However, you might want to discuss insuring personal property with your agent, since contents coverage is optional. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance.
Moderate- To Low-Risk
Most renters in moderate- to low-risk areas are eligible for coverage at a preferred rate. A Preferred Risk Policy provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate- to low-risk areas for one low-price.
A standard-rated policy is always available for persons who don’t qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy. Although flood insurance isn’t federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. 20% of NFIP claims are made by people outside of high-risk areas and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. When it’s available, disaster assistance is basically a loan you must repay with interest.
When living in a high-risk area, a standard-rated policy is the only option for you. It offers separate building and contents coverage.
Flood insurance premiums are calculated based on factors such as:
Year of building construction
Number of floors
The location of its contents
Its flood risk (i.e. its flood zone)
The location of the lowest floor in relation to the elevation requirement on the flood map.
The deductible you choose and the amount of coverage.
In 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners’ i.e. if their community participates in the program. Participating communities agree to enforce injunctions that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Living in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program will make you eligible to purchase flood insurance. Small discounts are offered in this program on flood insurance based on the steps communities take to reduce flood risks.
The cost to insure a property against flood damage is determined by risk associated factors such as the year of building construction, number of floors, level of flood risk and the amount of coverage required by lender. This amount should be based on the cost to rebuild, which can be obtained from your homeowners insurance company. Insuring your property with a certain deductible and particular amount of coverage will be the same despite the insurer, because flood insurance premiums are government regulated. However, you do have some control over the cost of your policy because you can choose your deductible amount.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mission is to support the citizens and first responders to promote that as a nation they work together to help establish, support, and ameliorate the capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and alleviate all hazards.
In the event of a disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plays an intense and major role in meeting the needs of affected populations in the United States. FEMA approved about $16 million in assistance for individuals and families in only one month for the mishaps from Tropical Storm Irene. Services included low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses; grants for flooded basements; unemployment assistance; legal services; and well and septic system repair. FEMA is the government agency charged with supporting U.S. citizens and first responders “to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.” Transportation and communications to logistics management and public safety and security are all apart of FEMA’s emergency support functions (ESFs). However, effective disaster preparation requires more than FEMA alone can provide.
FEMA specifically emphasizes that a lot of your expensive belongings are not and will not be covered by flood insurance. Purchasing additional coverage might be the only thing to do if you are worried about the cost of replacing the following:
In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that neither building nor personal property flood insurance will cover the following:
Dams provide many functions including recreation, flood control, irrigation, water supply and hydroelectric power; therefore it is a very important resource in the United States. Dams usually range from huge concrete structures to more local earthen structures. Surprisingly, very few dams are owned by the federal government; in fact almost two-thirds are privately owned. About 14,000 of those dams are “high” or “significant” hazard to life and property if failure occurs. However, while dams are built not to fail, they actually do. Dams can fail with little warning. Intense storms may produce a flood in a few hours or even minutes for upstream locations. Flash floods can occur within six hours of the beginning of heavy rainfall and dam failure can occur within hours of the first signs of breaching. Flooding can also occur when a dam operator releases excess water downstream to relieve pressure from the dam. The risk for dam failure and the potential catastrophic damage it can cause are not shown on the flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Property owners may not be aware of the high risk of living close to a dam. Property owners should consider financially protecting their home, business and/or contents with flood insurance.
2. Flash Floods
In the United States, floods are the most common severe weather emergency. They can roll boulders, tear out trees and destroy buildings and bridges. A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours, which is caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms. Flash floods can also occur from the collapse of a man-made structure or ice dam.
3. Floods after Fire
Wildfires are said to increase floods in many areas of the west and the south throughout recent years. While the West typically experiences most wildfires in the fall, the wildfires are most active in the South during late-winter and early-spring months. The rainy seasons that follow can lead to severe flooding.
The charred ground after a wildfire has burned away vegetation cannot easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding and mudflows for several years. The properties most at risk are the ones directly affected by fires, and those located downstream of burn areas.
4. Heavy Rains
Many areas of the country are at a high risk for flooding due to heavy rains. This excessive amount of rainfall can happen anytime throughout the year, putting your property at risk.
Spring rains in colder climates can lead to flooding when the still-frozen ground cannot absorb the water. In addition, summer months often bring heavy rains to the eastern and southern United States as warm air and moisture from the ocean move inland. Cresting rivers, backed-up storm drains or saturated ground can cause significant, widespread floods during these times.
5. Ice Jams
Long cold spells can cause the surface of rivers to freeze. When a rise in the water level or a thaw breaks the ice into large chunks, these chunks can become jammed at man-made and natural obstructions, resulting in severe flooding
Levees are designed to protect against a certain level of flooding. However, levees can and do deteriorate over time, making maintenance a serious challenge. Levees can also be overtopped, or even fail during large floods. Because of the overwhelming flood risks in areas with levees, FEMA strongly advocates flood insurance for all homeowners in these areas. Homeowners should also develop a disaster plan.
Mudflows are rivers of liquid and flowing mud on the surface of normally dry land, often caused by a combination of brush loss and subsequent heavy rains. Mudflows can develop when water saturates the ground, such as from rapid snowmelt or heavy or long periods of rainfall, causing a thick liquid downhill flow of earth. Mudflows are different from other earth movements, such as landslides, slope failures, and even moving saturated soil masses in which masses of earth, rock, or debris move down a slope where there is not a flowing characteristic. Damage from mudflows is covered by flood insurance.
8. New Development
Brand new flood risks occur when construction and development change the natural drainage, then creating brand new flood risks. This happens because new buildings, parking lots, and roads need less land to absorb excess precipitation from heavy rains, hurricanes, and tropical storms.
An early spring thaw can produce large amounts of runoff in a short period of time. Water cannot penetrate and be reabsorbed because the ground is hard and frozen. Excess water spill over their banks when water runs of the surface and flows into lakes, streams and rivers.
10. Spring Thaw
Spring brings warmer temperatures and heavy rain. But until the ground thaws, melting snow and rain cannot be absorbed. The water can result in the overflow of streams, rivers, and lakes that flood nearby homes and businesses. Rivers and streams that froze during the winter also begin to thaw. As the ice breaks and travels downstream, ice jams can block the flow of water, creating flooding upstream. Add spring rain to the mix, and the result can be serious, widespread flooding.
11. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
It takes only one storm to cause flooding. Communities being hundreds of miles inland can still be affects by flash floods. Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Everyone needs financial protection from the dangers of hurricanes.
12. Winter Rainy Season
Many parts of the United States are faced with heavy rains during the winter months. These storms often lead to flooding.
Several large wildfires in the western United States have dramatically changed the landscape and ground conditions, resulting in fire-scorched land that can lead to flash floods and mudflows under heavy rain. Vegetation might take years which will help stabilize these areas, to its returned form. Heavy rains usually follow heavy snow especially in really cold climates. The frozen ground cannot absorb the rain-soaked snow pack, so flooding occurs.
13. Coastal Flooding
Owning coastal property can be extremely risky when it comes to flooding, despite your business or home being miles away. The drenching downpours and wind-driven waves are just a few things to prepare for. Stay covered with flood insurance and always be prepared for storms and rising water.
Prior to acquiring flood insurance, there are many things that can be done to minimize your losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety.
1. Safeguard Your Possessions
2. Prepare Your House
3. Develop a Family Emergency Plan
o Being eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy means your flood insurance premium may be as low as $119 a year, including coverage for your property’s contents, especially if you live in a moderate-to-low risk area.
o Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Over the past 10 years, the average flood claim has amounted to over $33,000.
o Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk.
o Flood insurance is the best way to protect you from catastrophic financial loss.
To conclude, most times floods come without any warning, so ensure that you are physically and financially prepared for when it happens. Don’t be caught off guard and unprepared because the aftermath of a flood can be catastrophic and detrimental to you and your family. So always have a plan for your family and get flood insurance to always be covered and be guaranteed safety.
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