Facts About Floods are Needed to Protect

Remember the Facts about Floods. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days.

But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.

Facts about Floods

Facts about Floods

  • Floods happen in all 50 states.
  • Everyone lives in a flood zone.
  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
  • If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a Federally backed mortgage, your home mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance.
  • Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
  • Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 20 feet high.
  • A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
  • Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.
  • New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
  • Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
  • If you live in a low-to-moderate risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $119 a year, including coverage for your property's contents.
  • You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Check the Community Status Book to see if your community is already an NFIP partner.
  • It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it's important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.
  • Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
  • Last year, one-third of all claims paid by the NFIP were for policies in low-risk communities.
  • The average annual U.S. flood losses in the past 10 years (1994-2004) were more than $2.4 billion.
  • When your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you can qualify for an insurance premium discount of up to 45%.
  • The NFIP awarded over $16 billion in flood claims in 2005.
  • Since 1978, the NFIP has paid $31.4 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs (as of 3/31/06).
  • Over 5 million people currently hold flood insurance policies in more than 20,200 communities across the U.S.
But flash floods can develop Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.

These are the Facts About Floods

What to do after a flood?

  • Stay away from flood waters. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. The water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

  • Stay away from moving water. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet.

  • Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.

  • Stay away from disaster areas unless authorities ask for volunteers.

  • Continue listening to a battery-powered radio for information about where to get assistance for housing, clothing and food.

  • Consider your family's health and safety needs. Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you come in contact with flood waters. Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters. Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.

  • Contact your insurance agent to understand the impact from these facts about floods.

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