In the last several years, increased attention and concern have been focused on the impact of natural disasters, including flooding. This is particularly true at the state and local level, where disasters can devastate lives, cause millions of dollars in damages, and impact the economic viability of West Virginia communities for many years following an event. Planning ahead is crucial when it comes to flood insurance. Flood damage can happen to anyone, and it is important for West Virginians to realize that damage may occur to properties that are located in a flood zones and those that are not. Coverage is available even if your property is not located in a flood zone. It is also important to note that Homeowner’s Insurance does not provide coverage for flood damage. Coverage may be purchased through most property and casualty insurance agents licensed in the State to cover almost any structure and its contents, including rental properties.
“Flood” is defined in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), in part, as “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from overflow of inland or tidal waters from the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.”
Flood insurance is affordable. Preferred risk flood insurance policies start as low as $129 per year. The average standard flood insurance policy costs around $600 a year for an average of $100,000 of coverage. Protect yourself, your home, your family, and your financial future. You may visit floodsmart.gov for more resources and information on flood insurance.
HOW DO I REPORT A FLOOD CLAIM?
Report the flood loss immediately to the insurance company or agent who wrote your flood insurance policy OR
Call the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Claims Department at 1-800-767-4341.
A claims adjuster will be assigned the loss and will contact you within 24 hours to make arrangements to inspect your property.
Work closely with and cooperate with the adjuster to ensure all paperwork is completed in a timely manner.
You must file a “proof of loss” within 60 days of the loss.
Protect your property from further loss.
Prepare a detailed inventory and locate sales receipts for damaged property.
You may clean up the damage, but make sure to document damaged property before you discard it:
- Take photographs of damaged property. Videotape may be acceptable but photos may expedite the handling of your claim.
- Take close-up photos of items such as electronic appliances and equipment to show the brand name and features.
- If your sofa bed was damaged, take a photograph with the bed unfolded to prove it was a sofa bed.
- If your carpet was damaged, save a 2X2 foot square of the carpet and pad before discarding the rest of it.
There may be limitations on property covered under flood insurance, so read your policy.
Flood insurance policies DO NOT provide coverage for additional living expenses.
If you have filed a prior claim for flood damage, you will have to provide the adjuster with receipts to document that the prior damage had been repaired.
Call your local government planning office or insurance agent to find out if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, or call the NFIP at 1 888-FLOOD29, TDD 1 800-427-5593. Fema’s website may be reached at www.fema.gov/
To all State, Local Governments and Non-profit Agencies:
Please be aware that the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner has been charged with the responsibility of notifying state and local governmental entities, including non-profit organizations, and other entities, that low-cost, federally subsidized flood insurance may be available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This notification is being sent as a result of recent legislation as set forth in House Bill 2556 and in conjunction with Robert T. Stafford Emergency Assistant and Disaster Relief Act. Penalties in the form of reductions in Federal Emergency Management Agency relief funds are possible for entities who fail to purchase adequate flood insurance on all property located in identified flood zones. Section 406 (d) of the Stafford Act mandates a special reduction in the amount of public assistance funding for a structure that is:
Insurable under the NFIP; but not insured
Located in a Special Flood Hazard Area as determined by FEMA
Damaged by floodwaters
For insurable structures that do not have flood insurance or carry inadequate coverage, FEMA will reduce eligible project costs by the lesser of:
The maximum amount of insurance proceeds that could have been obtained from a standard NFIP flood insurance policy;
The value of the structure at the time of the disaster
If you are unsure whether your agency falls under these requirements, please contact your local county planning office or contact the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at 1-800 FLOOD29, TDD 1-800-427-5593, or see FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov/
If you require further assistance with your flood insurance policy, you may contact the Consumer Services Division of the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner in Charleston at 304 558-3386 or toll free at 1-888-TRY-WVIC