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Melting snow can bring spring flooding

Be prepared, says PIANJ

TRENTON, N.J.–As the winter snow melts and the spring months deliver frequent rain, floods are one of the most common natural disasters. With very few exceptions, a household or business needs to get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Plan, advises Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey Inc. Winter run off, heavy rains and water backup due to overloaded drainage systems have caused thousands of dollars of damages to homes and businesses. Unfortunately, too many people find out too late that their business, homeowners or renters insurance policy does not cover flooding. Year after year, flooding is not only more common, it is more devastating.

"Many people dont realize they are not covered for floods unless theyve purchased a separate flood insurance policy," says PIANJ President William Vowteras, CPIA. "The National Flood Insurance Program offers flood insurance at federally subsidized, premium rates, which is available through your independent insurance agent."

"People in high-risk flood areas are not the only people who need flood insurance, Vowteras points out. "In fact, approximately 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from areas that are not considered high risk. Keep in mind, flooding can occur any place at any time."

Vowteras urges all home and business owners to contact their professional, independent insurance agent to help determine if they need flood insurance. A 30-day waiting period exists between the time the flood insurance is purchased and the time the coverage goes into effect, although that waiting period may be waived for lender-required flood insurance," continued Vowteras, who stresses that waiting until the next storm warning to purchase flood insurance is dangerous, since coverage probably will not begin in time.

PIANJ also offers the following tips to help prepare for a flood:

  • Listen for storm warnings and follow evacuation procedures.
  • If a severe storm is predicted, its a good idea to board windows, shut off utilities and store outside items inside to prevent damage.
  • Keep an emergency kit handy as well as food and water, a portable can opener, clothing, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries, first-aid supplies, cell phone and a battery-operated radio in case you are left without electricity. 

Most importantly, contact your professional insurance agent to get the coverage you need to protect your family and your business from the devastation flooding can cause.

PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.