Thiele Encourages Homeowners to Obtain Flood Insurance Before Flood Zones Change

Legislative Column by Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr.
July 23, 2008
Now, more than ever, it is important for Long Islanders to obtain flood coverage. This fall, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be changing Long Island’s floodplain maps, thus causing the task of obtaining flood insurance even more arduous than it already is. I am encouraging homeowners to contact insurance agencies now so that they can insure their homes with the proper flood insurance before it is too late.

FEMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers coverage for most buildings as long as the property is located in a community that participates in the NFIP, which most in New York do. The program also sets flood insurance rates based on a property's elevation, whether it has a basement and the amount of coverage requested. Homes can be insured for up to $250,000 and another $150,000 for damage to their contents. Many people are not aware that there is a 30-day waiting period before a new policy can go into effect, so it is important to act now on obtaining your flood insurance.

Currently, there is no state requirement that homeowners must have flood insurance, but it is important to know that lenders will not issue mortgage loans to buyers of properties in designated floodplains unless the buyer/owner obtains flood insurance coverage. It is also important to know that, typically, homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods so the additional coverage is necessary.

Before the change to Suffolk County’s flood zones becomes a reality, I hope that homeowners will take advantage of this time to become properly insured against flood damage. If you would like more information on the NFIP, you can visit FEMA’s website at http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/ or you can call me at my district office.