Recent flooding in Arkansas brings to light common misconceptions and misinformation about flood insurance, according to the Arkansas Insurance Department.
The department has issued a “myth versus fact” statement about the utility of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Myth: I was told I can’t purchase flood insurance.
NFIP Fact: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies are being sold, policies are being renewed and claims are being paid in participating communities. If you are told that you can’t purchase flood insurance, call the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to find out if your community participates in the NFIP and to request an agent referral. Policies take 30 days to go into effect.
Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowner’s policy. Arkansans can purchase private flood insurance at any time, even if they do no not live in a floodplain or high-flood-risk area. You can also purchase private flood insurance even if your mortgage broker doesn’t require it. Keep in mind that any policy bought today will not cover the current flood event, but you will be prepared for a future flood. If you have any questions, please contact the Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494.
Myth: My current policy recently expired, or my carrier is going to cancel my policy, leaving me without coverage.
NFIP Fact: All policies expire at 12:01 a.m. on the last day of the policy term. However, coverage remains in force for 30 days after the expiration of the policy and claims for losses that occur during the period will be honored provided that the full renewal premium is received within 30 days of the policy expiration date. For NFIP policyholders, contact your insurance company immediately if your policy recently expired or canceled to determine renewal. If you don’t know your insurance company, call the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661.
On May 21, 2019, AID set a 60-day window where flood victims are protected from having any type of insurance policy cancelled for non-payment of premiums. This is not a waiver of payment. Policyholders must still pay premiums. Arkansans must contact their insurance companies to set up a payment plan to continue coverage once the 60-day window expires. If you have any questions, contact AID’s Consumer Services Division at 800-852-5494.
Myth: I was told I don’t need flood insurance.
Fact: People need flood insurance to protect their most important investment: their homes or businesses. Even if flood insurance is not mandated for your property, you are still at risk—even if you live in a moderate- to low-risk area. Where it can rain, it can flood. Living in a low- to moderate-risk flood zone (Zone X shaded/unshaded), does not mean no risk. In fact, more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program claims come from outside the areas of highest risk. Protect the life you’ve built and get a quote for the amount of flood insurance you can afford.
Myth: My homeowners or renters insurance policy covers flood damage.
Fact: Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state. Floods cause physical and emotional anguish, as well as financial devastation. In fact, just one inch of water in an average sized home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Whether you rent or own, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. For most standard policies, contents coverage is not automatically included with the building coverage.
Purchasing flood insurance is a step residents can take to protect the lives they’ve built. Just one inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Most homeowners and renters policies do not cover flood damage. Call your insurance agent to get a quote. Call 1-800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov. Policies typically take up to 30 days to go into effect.