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Springtime Means Floods - and Disaster


WARWICK, R.I. - With the arrival of spring, hard rains fall and snow-packs melt, increasing the likelihood of flooding across the country. Flooding is nature’s most common natural disaster, affecting tens of thousands of homeowners and renters nationally each year and causing over $2 billion in property damage annually in the United States, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“People are often surprised to discover that flooding could happen to them, and, unfortunately, some are unaware that water damage due to flooding isn’t covered by standard homeowners insurance policies,” said Franklin Reid, assistant vice president, who oversees MetLife Auto & Home’s flood program. “Flooding occurs in all 50 states in the United States, and up to 25 percent of all flood claims actually come from people living in low-to-moderate-risk zones. However, flood insurance is usually relatively inexpensive, and can easily be purchased for a home or business, to cover both your building and contents, subject to policy limitations.”

The danger of flooding should never be taken lightly. Fast moving water just two feet deep could actually wash away cars, and flood levels could reach more than twenty feet high, resulting in devastating losses for families, businesses, and entire communities. Reid offers the following tips about flooding:

Know the facts about floods. A flood/flash flood watch means a flood is possible, and a flood/flash flood warning means that flooding has already begun, or is about to begin.

Take all flood warnings extremely seriously. Leave immediately, if you’re ordered to do so. When leaving, stay on approved paths; other routes may be washed out. Make certain your car’s gas tank is full.
If you encounter a flooded road, turn around and go back. Never try to cross flood waters. If you can’t turn your car around, leave it there and walk to higher ground.

To prepare for any natural disaster, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit on hand at home. Items to consider include bottled water, canned food items, a first aid kit, sanitary supplies, a battery-operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and prescription medications. If you have animals, think about what supplies you’ll need for the pets, such as food, fresh water, and extra prescription medication, if applicable.

“Knowledge is essential when it comes to protecting your family and property against the threat of flooding,” said Reid. “By taking proactive measures, including the purchase of flood insurance, you can protect yourself against the often unexpected destruction brought on by Mother Nature. In addition, for an extra level of security, individuals may need additional protection for their homes or businesses, beyond what the standard flood insurance policies provide. When reviewing your specific insurance needs, ask your local agent whether excess flood insurance would be appropriate.”


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