Bureau of Insurance Encourages Consumers to Protect their Property with Flood Insurance

Waiting Period for Insurance to Take Effect Means NOW is the Time to Act to be Covered for Spring Flooding

February 25, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman is urging all Maine residents to evaluate their need for flood insurance, especially with spring approaching and a typical 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect. The Bureau is also issuing a reminder that most homeowner and business policies do not cover flooding.

“As shown by the devastating Patriot’s Day storm in April 2007 and the rising waters that ravaged Aroostook County last May, flooding continues to be one of the most costly natural disasters affecting Maine,” Superintendent Kofman commented. “Although flooding can occur anytime, the melting of ice and snow in the spring poses a heightened threat. Now is the time for home and business owners to seriously consider the advantages of flood insurance.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides homeowners, business owners and renters with the best insurance protection against flooding. The NFIP estimates there were 8,944 flood insurance policies in effect in Maine at the end of January. These policies provide coverage for losses that property owners would otherwise have to pay themselves.

Flood insurance is affordable and available through about 25 insurance companies in more than 964 NFIP participating communities in Maine. The average flood insurance policy premium is approximately $775 a year. In low-to moderate-risk areas, homeowners can protect their properties with lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies that start at $119 a year. For more information, visit www.FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.

Superintendent Kofman noted that 9 of the 11 federal disaster declarations for Maine encompassing the years 2000-2008 involved spring flooding, and the damages impacted every county in Maine on multiple occasions. In addition to purchasing flood insurance, the Superintendent urges residents to take steps to prepare for disasters and to review existing insurance coverage. Additional details and materials are available online at www.maine.gov/insurance/flood.

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