Commissioner Donelon urges consumers to protect their
property with flood insurance
One-month countdown to the 2008 hurricane season begins today
May 1, 2008
predicting another above-average hurricane season beginning June 1,
Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon is urging
people to protect their home and property against the most frequent natural
disaster in Louisiana – floods. The team of Dr. William Gray and
Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University predicts there will be
15 named storms, with eight of them being hurricanes and 4 of those being
intense hurricanes. The team also predicts there is a better than average
chance of at least one major hurricane hitting the United States.
“Historically, flooding during hurricane season is one of the
most costly natural disasters affecting Louisiana,” said Commissioner
Donelon. “Residents should learn their flood risk and take steps
before the next storm to protect their home or business from potential
flood damage. Remember, standard homeowners insurance does not typically
cover flood damage,” he said.
backed by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program
(NFIP) provides Homeowners, business owners and renters with the best
protection available against flooding. Currently, more than 31 percent
of households statewide have flood insurance coverage for losses they
would otherwise have to pay for themselves.
“Louisiana, because of its close proximity to the Mississippi
River and Gulf of Mexico, has one of the most vulnerable coastlines to
flooding in America,” Donelon said. “It is imperative that
our residents take action to guard against this risk.”
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, over the past 10
years, from 1998 to 2007, insured flood losses in Louisiana totaled more
than $13.8 billion.
The risk of hurricanes
and related flooding includes the Gulf Coast and entire Eastern seaboard.
Many scientists predict warmer waters in
the Atlantic will be fuel for stronger hurricanes over the next 15 to
20 years – and storm surge can be a major factor for coastal areas.
Flood insurance covers flooding from tidal and storm surge where other
policies may not.
surge caused by hurricanes and tropical storms can wreak havoc on coastal
areas, some of the most damaging floods occur hundreds
of miles from the shoreline, days after the storm’s initial landfall.
As hurricanes and tropical storms move inland, torrential rains and high
winds intensify the risks of flooding by rivers and streams.
Contact your insurance agent to purchase flood insurance. National Flood
Insurance policies are available to Homeowners, renters and business
owners. The average flood insurance policy premium is around $500 a year.
However, if your property is located in a low- to moderate-risk flood
zone, you may be eligible for a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy, which
can start as low as $120 a year.
Individuals can learn more about their flood risk by visiting www.ldi.state.la.us,
or calling our nationwide toll-free number, 1-800-259-5300. Residents
can also visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 for more information
about flood risk and the benefits of purchasing a flood insurance policy.
Be Floodsmart – Reduce your Risk
• Learn your flood risk. Properties that are not located in high-risk
areas can also flood. Find out your flood risk right now by entering
your address at www.FloodSmart.gov “Assess Your Risk.” Your
insurance agent can also help you check your risk.
• Plan for evacuation. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route,
ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an
emergency, and ensure everyone knows the contact’s address and
important objects and papers to a safe place. Store your valuables
where they cannot get damaged.
a thorough home inventory. Thorough documentation of your belongings
will help you file your flood insurance claim. For more
information, visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
an emergency supply kit. Food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines,
and a battery-operated radio should be ready to
go when you are. Visit www.ready.gov for a disaster supply checklist.
your flood risk through home improvements. Visit www.FloodSmart.gov
to learn about ways to lower your risk of sewer backup, electrical problems,
basement flooding and other flood-related issues.
a flood insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance does not cover
floods and there may be a 30-day wait before a flood policy
becomes effective. If you already have a flood policy, remember that
your policy needs to be renewed each year.