Pennsylvanians Urged to Get Ready for Flooding

15 May

According to a recent PennWatch article, Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield are urging Pennsylvania homeowners to start preparing for the flooding that may come during the springtime rainy season.

Flooding is fairly common in the state due to heavy spring rains which often continue into the summer. Pennsylvanians should purchase flood insurance well before the flood season starts as the majority of flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before coverage kicks starts. 

Flooding can cause massive damage which is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. According to FEMA flood statistics, just one inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage and roughly 40 percent of flood claims occur in low to moderate risk zones. 

“Flooding becomes a real threat in the spring and summer, and we’re urging Pennsylvanians to be prepared in case the unthinkable happens,” said Humphreys in the recent PennWatch article. “Too often we see homeowners who suffer devastating damages to their properties from flooding, only to realize that the standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover those damages. Homeowners should review their policies now and consider adding flood insurance coverage, because where it rains, it can flood.”

In the Keystone state, there are roughly 3.1 million homes carrying insurance but only 50,000 of those homes are carrying flood insurance. Unfortunately, a majority of home and business owners are unaware that a standard homeowners or business owners’ insurance policy excludes flood damage caused by overflowing rivers, surging tides, or rainfall.

Homes that are located in a federally designated Special Flood Hazard Areas are often required to carry flood insurance by their mortgage lenders to protect their investment in the home. If you are currently shopping for a new home, you should investigate where it falls on a flood map and whether you are required to carry flood insurance. 

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Flood insurance is sold in both the private market and through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In some locations, private market flood insurance may not be available. It’s not just homeowners who should consider flood insurance, renters can purchase a flood insurance policy to protect their possessions. Like homeowners coverage, renters insurance almost always excludes flood damage. 

According to Pennsylvania statistics, as of January 2023, there were approximately 15,900 flood policies written by the private insurance market in Pennsylvania compared to 35,600 private residential flood policies written by the NFIP.

“Consumers should be aware that flood insurance policies are not active immediately,” added Humphreys in the PennWatch article. “In most scenarios, there is a 30-day waiting period before policies are active.”

“It is important to remember that flooding can be a very real threat, even if your home is not near obvious water features,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield in the PennWatch article. “Changing weather patterns have brought with them short duration, high intensity storms that cause flash flooding outside of known floodplains. Flood insurance in these situations can be exceptionally affordable and offers financial security from the devastation that flooding causes.”

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