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Flood Insurance Tips

With seasonal Spring flooding right around the corner, Travelers (NYSE: TRV) wants to remind homeowners that flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States* and that just a couple inches of water can do thousands of dollars of damage to a home.

Unfortunately, without flood insurance, many homeowners will find out too late that they’re not financially protected against flood damage. Denise Thornton’s Louisiana home was ravaged by floodwaters. Unlike some of her neighbors, she had flood insurance. Without the policy, Thornton says her family wouldn’t have been able to rebuild their home. Thornton’s story can be seen on Travelers.com.

“There was a very big difference between those who had flood insurance and those who did not. My neighbor across the street did not have insurance. She still is not back,” said Thornton. “There is peace of mind with having flood insurance. The premium is so low when you think about the benefit, if you ever need it, and I tell you, we would not have been able to regain our life without the flood insurance money to help us rebuild our house.”

A recent Mason-Dixon poll revealed that one in five adults weren’t sure whether flood damage was covered in their standard homeowners policy, Travelers is reminding consumers that a separate flood policy is required to financially protect their homes from flood damage.

“Many people mistakenly assume flooding is covered in their standard homeowners policy or they don’t think it’s available,” said Chantal Cyr, vice president, Travelers’ Flood Division. “That’s why Travelers emphasizes the importance of reviewing insurance coverages with your carrier or insurance agent annually to make sure you have the right type and amount of coverage.”

Travelers stresses that in most cases it takes 30 days after purchase for a flood policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.

Below, some of the most common flood insurance myths are addressed, in part, with information from FEMA.

MYTH: A standard homeowners policy covers flooding.

FACT: Standard homeowners policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. You can, however, purchase a separate flood policy through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These policies are sold directly by the NFIP or through Write Your Own insurers such as Travelers.

MYTH: You can’t buy flood insurance if you live in a high-flood-risk area.

FACT: You can buy National Flood Insurance regardless of where you live as long as your community participates in the NFIP. The only exception is in Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas.

MYTH: You cannot purchase flood insurance immediately before or during a flood.

FACT: You can purchase National Flood Insurance at any time. However, in most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of application and premium payment before the policy takes effect. It is important to note that a newly effective policy will not cover a loss that is already in progress as of the effective date of that policy.

MYTH: You are not eligible for flood insurance if your property has previously flooded.

FACT: As long as your community participates in the NFIP, you can purchase a policy, even if your home or business has previously flooded.

MYTH: Federal disaster assistance will reimburse you for a flood loss so you don’t need to buy flood insurance.

FACT: Federal disaster assistance is only available during presidentially declared disasters. Federal disaster assistance is often in the form of a loan that you must pay back with interest. Flood insurance policies pay claims whether or not a disaster is declared.

MYTH: If you don’t live in a flood zone you don’t need to buy flood insurance.

FACT: Everybody lives in a flood zone and you do not have to live near water to suffer a flood loss. Floods can be caused by many things such as heavy rain, melting snow, inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, dam or levee failure, hurricanes, etc.

For more information about flood insurance, contact your independent insurance agent or visit www.floodsmart.gov.

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