A Reminder About Flood Insurance for Long Island Residents

Category: Personal Insurance

Approximately 15% of Long Island’s 1.5 million residents live in a flood zone should the island be impacted by a worst-case storm (a Category 4 storm heading in a northeast direction up the Atlantic coastline). All of Long Island has the potential for flooding, with the greatest risk in the southern parts of the island during hurricane season. The northern coastal areas of the island also have a high risk for major flooding, but from normal strong storms rather than hurricanes.

According to a survey by Bankrate.com, 81% of Long Island homeowners know that their homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Yet an Insurance Information Institute survey found that only 13% of Long Island homeowners had a flood insurance policy.

Flood insurance is mandatory if you live in a high-risk area and have a federally-backed mortgage. Keep in mind that FEMA considers flooding to be the number one natural hazard in the U.S.. Add to that the higher likelihood of flooding faced on Long Island (we are, after all, still recovering from Sandy), and one would think that flood insurance would be top of mind even for those who are not required to have it.

Remember, flood insurance is available from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can purchase NFIP flood insurance through your insurance agent, and you can get coverage for both your building property and your belongings. Flood insurance is available to Long Island homeowners, renters, condo owners and business owners.

The cost of flood insurance varies depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and what the flood risk of your property is. Legislation passed in 2012 designed to shore up the financially strapped NFIP (thanks in large part to Katrina and Sandy) made significant changes to flood insurance rates and may even have changed the flood risk designation for your home or neighborhood. Other efforts are now underway to minimize the impact that the regulations have on property owners, some of whom are seeing extreme rate increases on flood insurance policies.

Despite some of the uncertainties about the program’s future, the bottom line remains the same: Long Island property owners need flood insurance. We can work with you to assess your needs, your flood risk, and how much coverage you need. You can also visit FloodSmart.gov for more information, tools and resources.

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