Lack Of Flood Insurance Puts Illinois Residents At Risk
|April 1, 2008|
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Flooding from severe storms earlier this year - leading to a presidential disaster declaration for Iroquois and Livingston counties - is but the latest in a long history of destructive deluges in Illinois.
"Both the history of flooding in this state and the many floods we are seeing recently in other parts of the country are reminders that flooding is a serious risk to Illinois citizens and the economy," said Federal Coordinating Officer Larry Sommers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Homeowners insurance will not pay for flooding damage, yet less than 2 percent of Illinois residents and business owners have flood insurance.
"While flooding itself is usually not preventable, the financial and emotional toll can be greatly lessened when there is insurance to cover the damage," said Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Andrew Velasquez III.
To meet this need, low-cost National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance is available to homeowners, renters and businesses in almost every community in the state. Home and business owners may buy coverage for their buildings and contents, and renters can purchase insurance to cover personal property. Participating NFIP communities agree to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management practices to reduce future flood damage.
Property owners should not be lulled into a false sense of security because they do not live next to a body of water. Some 25 percent of flooding insurance claims occur in areas not readily recognized as being vulnerable to flooding, that is they are outside mapped flood zones.
NFIP officials strongly emphasize that residents and business owners can buy flood insurance coverage on contents and/or on a qualifying structure whether or not they live in a flood plain, as long as their community participates in the program.
The average annual flood insurance premium in Illinois is $450, according to the NFIP. Some private insurance companies and agents sell and service the policies which are backed by the federal government under FEMA's NFIP. Residents and business owners can find a list of agents in their areas who sell the coverage on the www.FloodSmart.gov Web site or by calling 1-800-427-4661.
Some critical facts about floods and flood insurance: