HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Insurance Department encourages homeowners in prone areas to consider buying flood insurance now as the winter thaw and typical spring rains increase the changes of flooding.
Pennsylvania is one of the most flood-prone states in the nation, and flooding can occur at any time of year. Residents must carry flood insurance if they live in a designated flood zone, but flooding can happen inland and away from major waterways.
An overflowing creek or pond, water running down a steep hill or melting snow can all put a home at risk for flood damage.
Importantly, homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage, and it takes 30 days for newly purchased flood insurance policies to go into effect, making now the ideal time to buy a policy.
Other flood insurance facts:
- 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 bought 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 (888) 379-9531.
The Insurance Department also offers disaster preparedness information at www.insurance.pa.gov.