Insurance Dept Urges Homeowners To Consider Flood Insurance Regardless Of Flood Hazard Area Designation
Insurance Department Consumer Liaison David Buono Thursday urged homeowners in Moosic Borough, Lackawanna County, as well as homeowners throughout Pennsylvania, to consider purchasing flood insurance, regardless of whether they live in a federally designated special flood hazard area, where this insurance is required for most mortgages.
“Flooding happens throughout Pennsylvania, with federal government records showing 20 percent of claims under the National Flood Insurance Program in the state being for damages outside of designated Special Flood Hazard Areas,” Buono told a public meeting on the flood insurance topic in Moosic. “According to CoreLogic, a global company that provides property information to mortgage lenders, more than half a million properties in Pennsylvania outside of SFHAs are at moderate or high risk of flooding.”
Buono addressed a public meeting organized by Moosic Borough officials following information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that additional areas of the community may be included in SFHAs with current remapping of flood hazard areas.
“FEMA’s planned re-mapping could result in more homeowners and businesses in Moosic and surrounding areas being required by their mortgage lenders to buy flood insurance, which is not included in most standard homeowners or business insurance policies,” Buono said. “But, both FEMA statistics and the CoreLogic study show flood insurance is something property owners should consider even if they are not in an area where this coverage is required.”
FEMA’s flood hazard areas are those considered to have a one percent chance of flooding in any one year, which amounts to a 26 percent chance of flooding at least once during the span of a 30-year mortgage.
Properties outside of an SFHA with half the likelihood of flooding still face a 14 percent chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
Acknowledging flood insurance is an added expense, Buono encouraged property owners to shop for the best coverage and visit the Insurance department’s flood insurance webpage for information on the federal government run NFIP, as well as private market flood insurance.
“Our research has shown for homeowners in SFHAs with a relatively low risk of flooding, private coverage may be significantly less expensive than the NFIP. For properties outside of SFHAs, coverage is relatively inexpensive for both NFIP and private market products, with NFIP coverage being about $30 a month,” Buono said.
Since the Insurance Department launched its flood insurance webpage a little over two years ago, the number of private, residential flood insurance policies in Pennsylvania has jumped from 1,500 to around 5,200.
“Renters should consider flood insurance as well,” Buono said. “While a landlord’s policy may cover the apartment itself and the building, it likely will not cover a tenant’s personal possessions. “Without flood coverage, tenants could lose their clothing, furniture, electronics, and other valuable belongings, which would be very expensive to replace.”
Congress has reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program with several short-term extensions since last September. The latest extension expires March 23.
The Insurance Department has written to Congress and testified in Washington in favor of a long-term reauthorization of the program, including specific language that makes private market flood insurance acceptable to mortgage lenders.
For more information, visit the Insurance Department’s Flood Insurance webpage.
[Posted: March 22, 2018]
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