Flooding damage - Floods are a common and costly natural hazard in Arizona. Whether caused by heavy rain, monsoons, or the remnants of tropical storms, the results of flooding damage can be devastating. While some floods develop over time, flash floods—particularly common in the state—can occur within minutes after the onset of a rainstorm. Even mountainous areas are at risk for flash flooding, as higher grounds tend to funnel water down into canyons. Residents need to protect their homes and assets with flood insurance now, before a weather event occurs and it’s too late.
Many Arizona residents may be at an even greater risk of flooding due to the recent wildfires that have burned across the state. Strings of large-scale wildfires have dramatically altered the landscape and ground conditions in the state. In 2009 alone, 147,531 acres in Arizona were severely damaged. [Source: National Interagency Fire Center].
Arizona Flood Coverage At-a-Glance
Currently, there are nearly 35,000 flooding damage insurance policies in force (PIF) in Arizona, just more than 25,000 of which are in high-risk areas. However, many state residents remain at risk—less than two percent of households are covered.
Be Flood Smart - Reduce Your Risk
• Learn your flood risk. Find out your flood risk by entering your address at FloodSmart.gov “Assess Your Risk.” Insurance agents can provide more detailed information and insurance options.
• Purchase a flood damage insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance does not cover flooding damage and there is a 30-day wait before a policy becomes effective. If you already have a flood policy, remember that it needs to be renewed each year.
• Make a flood plan. Plan evacuation routes. Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place. Itemize and take pictures of possessions. Build an emergency supply kit.
• If you live in a high-risk area and carry a mortgage from a federally regulated lender, you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy.
If your property is located in a moderate-to-low risk flood area, you may be eligible for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP), which starts at just $119 a year. Visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 to learn about individual flood risk, explore coverage options, and to find an agent in your area.
Most standard homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding damage. Insurance companies generally define “flood” or “flooding damage” to mean any water outside your home that flows inside at ground level. If this water damages your home or belongings it is NOT covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Flood insurance is obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Changes to the terrain surrounding your property can increase your risk for flooding damage. For instance, a wildfire may destroy the ground cover that helps deflect flooding. Periodically re-evaluate your flood risk.
How to buy NFIP flood insurance:
Start by calling your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance agent to ask if they write flood insurance. If they can’t help, call the NFIP to find an agent that specializes in flood insurance: (888) 379-9531.
Unlike homeowner’s insurance, there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect. You will need to know what flood zone your home is in.
To find out, call 877-336-2627 or visit www.FloodSmart.gov. If your home is not in a low-risk flood zone, you may need to seek assistance from your local County Flood Control District office to obtain documentation for flooding damage insurance. This process can take some time.
• Unlike homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance requires separate policies for each building and separate coverage for your belongings inside each building.
• Flood insurance can be purchased by homeowners, condo owners, renters, and business-owners Nearly 25% of flood insurance claims to the NFIP come from low-to-moderate flood risk areas!
Everyone is at risk for flood damage to varying degrees.
[Source: Arizona Department of Insurance http://www.AZinsurance.gov]
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