Florida residents hoping to protect their homes from storms are running out of time to buy flood insurance before hurricane season.
The season officially begins June 1. But if people wait until then, they might leave their homes or businesses exposed to the first storms. That’s because it takes 30 days from the date of purchase for a National Flood Insurance policy to become effective.
FEMA is reminding residents that most property insurance does not cover damage from flooding.
And if people are banking on FEMA assistance in case of a flood, keep in mind the federal disaster help is limited to repairs that make a primary residence “safe, sanitary and functional.”
But flood insurance, on the other hand, can pay out up to $350,000 to cover home and contents losses, even when a federal disaster hasn’t been declared.
Almost 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from areas not considered at high risk for flooding, according to FEMA. The average annual cost of an NFIP policy for homeowners is about $700.
NFIP never cancels policies due to repeat losses. Also, there is no payback requirement, unlike low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
A single-family residential building can be insured up to a maximum of $250,000 and its contents up to $100,000. Renters can cover contents up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure their building up to $500,000 and contents up to $500,000.
To find an insurance agent who sells flood insurance or to learn more about NFIP, call 800-427-4661 or visit www.FloodSmart.gov.