Two Thirds of Minnesotans Will be Affected by Flooding in 2011 – Act Now!

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If homeowners don’t act in ways not common in the past, many will stand to lose a fortune due to flooding in Minnesota in 2011.  It’s likely that sandbagging won’t do it this time and we need to start thinking about flood insurance and in some cases act quickly on flood insurance.  According to expert guests on a Minnesota Public Radio show two days ago, two thirds of Minnesotans will be affected directly or indirectly by flooding this year.  If someone thinks their house won’t be affected, they can at least count on traffic being a mess.

Just try and get a mental picture of the Minnesota metro area using the National Weather Service Flood Forecast for the Twin Cities.  If the precipitation hasn’t been heavy enough, now we’re talking about another 10-17 inches of snow in what’s being dubbed “Domebuster II” and we’re not even in March!  So perhaps the National Weather Service is being conservative.  Most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover floods or flooding and, over the past 10 years, the average flood claim has been higher than $33,000.  It’s time to act.

Here are some important facts to consider:

  • It is a myth that you need to live in a flood plain to get flood insurance.  The only requirement is that your municipality participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and almost 85% of MN municipalities do participate.
  • It is a myth that you need to own the home to get flood insurance.  If you rent and your landlord isn’t insured and you feel your personal property is at risk, you can get insured.
  • It is a myth that FEMA’s Flood Maps are completely trustworthy.  According to FEMA, 25% of all flood claims come from homes located outside designated flood plains.
  • It is a myth that most homeowner’s insurance covers backups of storm drains and sewers.  This is usually covered in the form of a “rider” or “backup of sewer and drain endorsement” that typically costs around 50 bucks a year.
  • It is not necessary a given that your car is protected from flood damage by your auto insurance.  This is typically only the case in comprehensive coverage and even then it’s worth double checking.

So why the sound of panic? . . .  Simple, there’s absolutely no time to wait.  Flood insurance purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program has a thirty day waiting period between the time the coverage is purchased and the time it becomes effective.  If you’re interested in talking with someone about flood insurance specifically, try the “Agent Locator” at www.floodsmart.gov.  Another resource for Minnesotans would be the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.  To inquire about protecting your auto, your personal belongings as a renter or a rider for backup of sewer and drain, contact your personal auto-home-life agent.

Get yourself protected and make sure the ones you care about know about this too!

Charles Dailey – Branch Manager, Loan Officer, Certified Military Housing Specialist – CA DOC, MN DOC & WI DFI

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