About Flood Insurance
Are you a Gretna, Belle Chasse or New Orleans area Homeowner?
Why Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Every home and business in South Louisiana is subject to flooding. Due to the exceptionally low lying land along the Gulf Coast where we live and work, the region’s vulnerability to hurricanes and tropical storms and the highest rainfall averages of any state in the country, Louisiana ranks first in the nation in flooding disasters. Although Hurricane Katrina in 2005 pushed a storm surge over 20 feet high through the New Orleans area, it only takes a few inches of water to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to a home or business.
At least 25 percent of businesses that close after disasters such as a flood, never reopen. The National Flood Insurance Program also offers flood insurance protection to businesses. Protect your business from the huge financial losses that can result from flood disasters.
Homeowner’s Insurance Does Not Cover Flooding
Many homeowners are not aware that homeowners insurance does cover flooding. Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, federally subsidized flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available to you to protect your home and it’s contents in the event of a flood.
What is the National Flood Insurance Program?
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves in the event of a flood. The National Flood Insurance Program offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Virtually every community on South Louisiana including those in the New Orleans area qualifies for flood insurance protection under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Whether you are a homeowner, a renter or a business owner, whether your home is a large stable structure or a mobile home, whether you own the property where your business is located or rent the property, federally subsidized flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program is available to you to protect your home, your business and it’s contents.
Flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program can only be purchased through an insurance agent. You cannot purchase flood insurance directly from the federal government.
Who is Eligible for Flood Insurance Coverage?
The National Flood Insurance Program offers flood insurance protection through local insurance agencies including Bowles & Associates, Inc. in Gretna, Louisiana. Bowles & Associates, Inc. is authorized to sell low cost flood insurance protection provided by the National Flood Insurance Program for homes and businesses in the New Orleans area and throughout the state of Louisiana.
Residential flood insurance provided by the National Flood Insurance Program is available to homeowners, condo owners, mobile and modular home owners and renters of homes, apartments and condos. Flood Insurance is also available for vacant homes.
Commercial flood insurance is available to commercial building owners and renters. Flood Insurance is also available for builder’s risk projects such as renovation projects and new construction.
Flood insurance for residential and commercial property provides coverage for both buildings and contents however contents coverage is optional. Since contents coverage is optional, discuss insuring personal property or contents within your business with your Bowles & Associates, Inc insurance agent.
Costs for residential and commercial flood insurance vary depending on how much insurance protection is purchased, what the insurance covers and the flood risk of each individual property.
How Much Flood Insurance Coverage is Available?
Residential Flood Insurance
The National Flood Insurance Program offers coverage for residences to a maximum of $250,000 of building coverage for single-family residential structures and $250,000 per unit for multifamily residents. The limit for contents on all residential buildings for both homeowners and renters is $100,000.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Commercial structures can be insured by the National Flood Insurance Program to a limit of $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for contents.
What Is Excess Flood Insurance?
Since the National Flood Insurance Program limits coverage to $250,000 for residential buildings and $500,000 for commercial buildings you may require extra or “Excess” flood insurance to adequately protect your home or business in the event of damage from a flood. Excess Flood Insurance provides coverage limits over and above the maximum limits available through the National Flood Insurance Program. Ask your Bowles & Associates, Inc insurance agent for more information about protecting your home and business beyond the National Flood Insurance Program limits of coverage.
When is the Best Time to Purchase Flood Insurance Coverage?
Typically, there’s a minimum 30-day waiting period from the date you purchase flood insurance until your policy goes into effect. So if you already own a home or business the best time to buy flood insurance is NOW!
There are VERY FEW exceptions to the waiting period for your flood insurance to go into effect. All involve very special conditions such as property loans, flood map revisions, additional flood insurance purchases or even flooding exacerbated by post-wildfire conditions on federal lands! So be sure to consult your Bowles & Associates, Inc. insurance agent if you believe special conditions apply to you.
These are the most common exceptions:
• If flood insurance is being purchased in connection with the making, increasing, extending or renewing of your loan for your property, there is no waiting period and coverage begins at the time of the loan.
• If an additional amount of insurance is selected as an option on the renewal bill.
• If the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the one-year period following the issuance of a revised flood map for a community, there is a one-day waiting period.
Protect yourself and your family from financial distater when a flooding disaster strikes. Contact a Bowles & Associates, Inc. insurance agent for flood insurance coverage for your home and business. No matter where you live in South Louisiana you and your business are exposed to the risk of flooding.
Additional information about Flooding
What is a Flood?
Probably the last in the country to need a definition of a flood are the citizens of Louisiana and the New Orleans area. However, the National Flood Insurance Program has a very precise definition of a flood that defines when homes and businesses covered under the program are eligible for claims for losses due to flooding.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program, a flood is “a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.”
The National Flood Insurance Program reminds home and business owners that just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t experience a flood in the future. In Louisiana and in the New Orleans area in particular, we all know that flooding happens! But we also should know that the National Flood Insurance Program does not base flood risk just on history (or recent history!). Flood risk and your need for flood insurance protection is also based on rainfall, river-flow, tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures and even changes due to development.
What Causes Flooding?
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
A flood can be caused by many different conditions. In Louisiana and the New Orleans area in particular, we are very familiar with flooding caused by hurricanes and tropical storms especially flooding caused by over topped levees from storm surge. With the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, no one living in the New Orleans area at the time needs to be reminded that hurricanes cause flooding not only from over topped or broken levees but also from the heavy rainfall that accompanies most hurricanes.
High River Levels
Residents of New Orleans and southeast Louisiana should be reminded that another condition requiring flood insurance protection is the potential for over topped or broken levees from high river levels. It doesn’t take much to understand just how close the New Orleans area remains to flooding by over topped river levels when standing atop the Mississippi River levee after a particularly wet spring further up river. On one side the waters of the Mississippi River are just a few feet below and on the other, the streets of New Orleans lie some 20 feet below. A scary sight, especially for anyone with a home or business in the area and no flood insurance!
Although over topped or broken levees along the Mississippi River are the most notorious in Louisiana history, having caused widespread flooding and destruction many times over, flooding due to high river levels is not limited to the Mississippi River. Any river in the state can potentially overflow and flood homes and businesses in the area. Even homes and businesses located many miles from a river are subject to flood damage when the river overflows. The relative flatness of land in Louisiana results in flood plains that can extend far beyond a river’s banks.
Rapid Rainfall Accumulation
Residents of New Orleans and other south Louisiana residents are very familiar with flooding caused by excessive rainfall leading to rainfall accumulation in the streets and even in their homes and businesses. Although not covered by flood insurance, everyone in the New Orleans area knows someone who has lost a car in a flood caused by heavy rains!
In most areas of the country including parts of Louisiana just north of New Orleans, excessive rainfall usually leads to the danger of flooding from high river levels as rivers struggle to drain away excess water from the heavy rains. In the extremely flat, low lying areas of South Louisiana, there are few rivers to drain away excess rain water. In a city like New Orleans, street flooding from heavy rainfall can begin in minutes. If the rains persist and exceed the capacity of the pumps within the levee system, homes and business can flood within a few short hours. Homes and businesses within the levee system such as those in Orleans, Jefferson, Saint Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes are especially vulnerable.
Floods from rainfall accumulation can happen in any relatively flat area such as along the low lying coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico. Every home and business all along the Gulf Coast, from Florida to Texas and especially Louisiana, needs flood insurance protection not just in the event of hurricanes or even tropical storms, but also in the event of an exceptionally rainy day!
Although Louisiana homes and businesses are not subject to floods caused by ice jams or snow melts, there are other causes of flooding in Louisiana that range from factors as simple as clogged street drains to as dramatic as broken dams. Even relatively flat states such as Louisiana can experience a flood due to a broken dam such as nearly happened recently along the Tangipahoa River northwest of New Orleans when a dam on the river nearly collapsed in neighboring Mississippi following heavy rains. Another possible cause of flooding unique to the New Orleans area is pump station breakdowns.
Development can be another cause of flooding. Extensively developed areas cannot absorb rainfall as quickly as natural land and this can lead to rainfall accumulation and flooding that would not have occurred otherwise. Even something as simple as your neighbor raising the grade of his property a few inches can cause rainfall to flow off his property and accumulate in the yards, homes and garages of his neighbors.
Everyone needs Flood Insurance Protection!
As you can see, floods can be caused by many different factors. If you own a home or business in the New Orleans area or South Louisiana, you need flood insurance protection!