National Flood Insurance Program Set to Expire Unless Congress Acts
Florida sees a lot of hurricane and tropical storm activity, including a recent storm that surprised meteorologists by forming just off the coast and then making landfall in Southeast Florida hours later. That was Tropical Storm Emily. The heavy rain that accompanies such storms puts Florida homes and businesses at risk of flood damage, which is why all homeowners and business owners should carry flood insurance.
Southwest Florida has also been deluged by rain. Several Florida counties experienced record rains in August because of a tropical disturbance that recently dumped rain over the area. The rain flooded homes and cars, prompting a Fort Myers Councilman to argue that Southwest Florida be declared a disaster area. Areas affected by the rain include Lee, Collier, Hendry and Charlotte counties.
But most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. In fact, there are only 13 private companies that offer private flood insurance in Florida, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation. There are also nine companies that offer policies covering losses that exceed the federal payout limit. Unfortunately, though, the federal program that provides flood insurance policies is in trouble. It’s been losing money for years, and without congressional action, it may expire all together.
The National Flood Insurance Program
The federal government established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to fill the gap in insurance coverage. The program, which provides flood insurance and develops flood hazard zone maps, is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The NFIP will expire on September 30 unless Congress takes action. While there have been several reform proposals, including one that would gradually raise premiums for some flood insurance policyholders, no final action has been taken.
Important Things to Know About Your NFIP Policy
The flood insurance program will be intact at least through September 30. Here are a few important things you should know about the current program:
- You might need more than one policy. Understand that a building and structure policy won’t cover the contents of that building or structure.
- If you purchase a flood insurance policy tomorrow keep in mind that it generally won’t take effect for 30 days.
- You can only purchase an NFIP policy if your community is a program-participant. Talk to an insurance agent to determine your eligibility.
- Remember that your insurance rates may change if your community’s flood map is changed. A flood map shows what areas are most at risk of flooding, such as low-lying coastal areas. FEMA uses these maps to determine NFIP insurance rates.
- You can find your community’s flood map online and also request that your flood zone designation be reviewed.
- You can appeal both a partial and a full denial of your insurance claim. An experienced attorney can help.
Contact Us Today
Contact a Fort Myers insurance attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if your property has sustained flood damage. We will guide you through the insurance claims process and help you recover for your losses.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.