Post-Irene: Flood Insurance Questions, Answers

Consult Gotham Brokerage before or after a disaster

Water floods the storage yard for New York's subway cars during Tropical Storm Irene. photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Transit Authority/Creative Commons

Irene is history and Tropical Storm Ophelia is out in the Atlantic Ocean, though the current path has it missing Puerto Rico when it blows through that region Sunday. Keep in mind the Atlantic Hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30, and the fall months can be active for storms on a more northerly track.

This is as good a time as any to review some basics about flood insurance and what to do if your home is damaged in a flood:

  • Is my home insured for storm-related flood damage? Not necessarily. Most home and business policies don’t cover flood or mudslide damage.
  • How do I get flood insurance? Start by contacting us. We can help determine if you need it. PIANY is a good resource, too. Nationwide, more than 20,000 communities participate in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which offers policies that typically cover the cost of removing contents, sandbagging, repair and rebuilding expenses, debris and mud removal and compensation for the loss of personal or business items.
  • How much protection can I get? Usually, you can obtain flood coverage for up to $250,000 on your home, $100,000 on its contents and $500,000 for businesses.
  • Is flood insurance necessary? That depends, but flood insurance is often necessary to obtain home or business loans, or federal disaster assistance if your property is in a designated hazard area. Just because your home or business isn’t in a flood plain doesn’t mean you’re safe; a quarter of NFIP claims come from outside high-risk flood areas.
  • Can I buy flood insurance at any time? Yes, but there’s usually a 30-day waiting period between the purchase and effective dates.
  • What else can I do to prepare for a flood? Pay close attention to storm warnings. Take precautions against debris by boarding up windows and bringing outside items indoors. Shut off utilities. Prepare an emergency kit that contains food, water, a portable can opener, clothes, blankets, flashlights, first-aid supplies and a battery or crank-powered radio.

Gotham Brokerage is a family-owned business that’s served the New York City area for more than 50 years. There’s no weather-related disaster we haven’t seen, so if you think you need flood insurance, call or email us, and we’d be happy to guide you to the right policy.

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