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Floods have the potential to be quite dangerous, as well as damaging. This overflow of water can be due to a discharge from a surrounding body of water or from an excess of rainwater. Floods range from very small to very large; floods can develop slowly or suddenly as flash floods.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines flooding as “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: Overflow of inland waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, and mudflows.”
Flooding typically occurs in low-lying flatland where water cannot easily damn. Flooding can also develop in areas where there are impenetrable surfaces such as concrete, where the precipitation cannot be easily absorbed into the ground. When there are instances of extensive heavy rains, this can create an opportunity for flash flooding.
After wildfires, floods are the most widespread of all natural disasters. Approximately 90% of all U.S. natural disasters that have been officially declared by the President of the United States include a degree of flooding. Coastal areas are at particular risk, all areas are at some level of risk of flood and flood damage. Within the last five years, all 50 states have experienced some form of flooding or flash flooding.
Know the difference between a flood warning and a flood watch. A flood warning indicates that flooding is possible. A flood watch informs that flooding is currently or about to occur. Faced with the dangerous situation of a flood, it is advised that individuals get to the highest level of ground possible. When a flood is imminent, be prepared. If possible, bring outdoor furniture inside and remove any important contents from the basement, if applicable, to higher ground. Turn off main utility lines and disconnect any electronic appliances.
For health reasons, make sure to sanitize anything that comes into contact with flood water, as the extent of its contents is unknown. After a flood, your community’s water supply might not be safe for drinking purposes. In the midst of a flood, do not walk through moving water. Do not drive through any flooded areas. If you find yourself in a vehicle when a flood occurs, abandon the vehicle and make your way to higher ground if safely possible. Do not make contact with any electrical equipment if you are wet or in standing water. Avoid downed power lines and moving water at all costs.
Most home or property owners purchase a flood protection policy separate from their standard property or homeowner’s insurance policy. Property owners need to purchase flood damage insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. With the National Flood Insurance Program, all rates are set and do not differ from company to company or from agent to agent.
Flood insurance covers both the building and its contents. Remember that it is absolutely crucial to know exactly what your insurance policy covers and what it does not cover. In the majority of flood damage cases, it takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to become active.
For The Policyholder™
Filing Flood Proofs of Loss
It is important to file flood proofs of loss and flood damage properly, especially before filing a lawsuit. Reference the FAQs under the resources tab on the main menu bar to view an instructional video on how to properly complete the proofs of loss form.