HARRISBURG, Pa., March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although flood insurance can be a huge help to homeowners, there is a 30-day waiting period before purchased coverage takes effect, acting Insurance Commissioner Michael F. Consedine today reminded consumers.
"You should consider buying a flood insurance policy if your home could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or pond, or water running down a steep hill," Consedine said. "But the right time to buy a policy is long before flood warnings are posted or the water begins to rise. Also, remember that homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage."
With more than 50,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks, Pennsylvania is among the nation's most flood-prone states. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But flooding can also occur in inland areas and away from major waterways.
Flood insurance, backed by the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, is available to most homeowners, renters and businesses. It can be purchased through any licensed property-casualty insurance agent.
Premiums vary, depending on risk level for a flood loss. A standard flood insurance policy, which pays for direct physical damage to your property, has an average premium of approximately $500 a year. Contents of a home are not covered under a standard flood policy, but for an additional premium, you also may purchase coverage for your personal property.
The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions. The policy provides "replacement cost" coverage for the structure of your home, but only "actual cash value" coverage for your possessions.
Replacement cost coverage pays to rebuild your home as it was before the damage. Actual cash value is replacement cost coverage minus depreciation so that the older your possessions are, the less you will receive if they are damaged. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other belongings stored in your basement.
Information detailing coverage and how to obtain flood insurance can be found at www.floodsmart.gov, or by calling the NFIP's toll-free, consumer hotline at (888) 379-9531.
Running March 14 -18, 2011, National Flood Safety Awareness Week focuses on consumer education and the dangers associated with flooding. The Insurance Department also offers disaster preparedness information at www.insurance.pa.gov.
Media contact: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department