Winter ice and snow increases the chance of spring flooding, so the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is encouraging homeowners to consider buying flood insurance now.
With more than 50,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks, Pennsylvania is one of the most flood-prone states in the nation and flooding can occur at any time of year.
Pennsylvania residents must carry flood insurance if they live in a designated flood zone, but flooding can happen inland and away from major waterways. Homes that could be flooded by an overflowing creek or pond, water running down a steep hill or melting snow are at risk for flood damage.
Importantly, homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Also, it takes 30 days for newly purchased flood insurance policies to go into effect, so the ideal time to buy a policy is long before flooding is forecast. Other flood insurance facts include:
Premiums will vary, depending on the risk level for a flood loss.
Policies can be purchased for physical damage to a property, and a separate policy can also be purchased for the contents.
Foundational elements and items usually located in a basement for making a home habitable, such as furnaces and water heaters, generally are covered.
Finished elements in a basement, such as paneling, rugs and furniture, are not covered.
Backed by the National Flood Insurance Program, flood insurance is available to most homeowners, renters and businesses, and can be purchased through any licensed property-casualty insurance agent.
Information on how to obtain flood insurance, and determine your risk for flooding, can be found at www.floodsmart.gov
, or by calling 1-888-379-9531