Drought conditions in the west and warmer than average winter temperatures across the country have forecasters in a tailspin as to how to predict exactly what weather event is coming next. Heavier than average rainfall has affected the Mississippi River Valley with St. Louis area residents experiencing a very wet Christmas due to flooding.
When there hasn’t been much rain, home and business owners tend to drop the insurance policy that could help them most: flood insurance. And those who haven’t purchased it don’t see the need.
In order for flood insurance to work for you in a flooding event, you have to purchase it NOW. Here are three reasons why you should buy flood insurance now:
1. There Is A Waiting Period.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy is designed to be purchased before you need flood coverage, and not during a storm or flood event. To prevent such on-the-spot purchases NFIP instituted a 30-day mandatory waiting period to purchase flood insurance. The policy you purchase today won’t start covering you until 30 days from now. If it is raining now and flooding is likely, you won’t be able to get flood insurance until at least 30 days later, too late to help you when you need it now.
There are no exceptions to this rule except for loan closings. If flood insurance is required for closing, the policy can be purchased and started on the same day, subject to program guidelines.
Private insurers are beginning to provide quotes for flood insurance independent of NFIP which would alleviate the waiting period. However, insurance companies still will not bind coveage for you in the middle of a flood event.
2. El Niño Is Sticking Around.
The predictions for El Niño are that this little boy is planning to pack a big punch, with scientists predicting it could be the most powerful on record.
El Niño is anticipated to affect weather patterns through the spring. This could result in heavy rainfall over large areas that have recently been drought-stricken. Very dry soil will likely not be able to absorb large amounts of rain falling quickly in one area. This could trigger flooding and mudslides even in areas where flooding is usually not likely.
Much of the rainfall associated with El Niño is expected in the mountains, where there is typically snowfall. Snow is preferred over rain because melting happens slowly over time, with less likelihood of flooding. Whatever happens with this weather event, flood insurance is sure to be needed somewhere in the affected areas.
3. Expect the Unexpected
Even if El Nino doesn’t perform up to expectations, rain and water from other sources can cause flooding anywhere. A recent water main break in West Hollywood caused headaches for homeowners and businesses on an otherwise cloudless day.
Hurricanes can break levees, as evidenced by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Earthquakes can cause damage to dams and flood areas that are not usually associated with floods. The unexpected can occur anywhere, at any time.
Flood insurance is a valuable part of your business insurance portfolio. Hayes Brokers has access to the National Flood Insurance Program, private flood insurers and excess flood insurance carriers to protect your business, as well as your home. Call your broker to discuss this important insurance coverage before it is too late.