Larimer County residents in the High Park Fire area have one month to buy flood insurance that makes them eligible for an exception to the 30-day wait for flood insurance to go into effect, federal and state recovery officials said July 31.
The final day to purchase under the exception is Aug. 29. Individuals in the High Park fire area who purchase flood insurance after Aug. 29 will have to wait 30 days from the date of purchase for the policy to go into effect.
“We encourage everyone who may be affected to buy flood insurance right away, and definitely within the grace period,” said Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Wildfires destroy vegetation that used to absorb water, so the risks of flooding are greater. It’s a good idea to buy flood insurance now.”
“The risk of flooding is very real in the areas impacted by fires in Colorado. The Office of Emergency Management encourages you to purchase the appropriate flood coverage before the deadline so that you will be eligible to apply for the 30-day exception,” said Dave Hard Director of the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, signed into law July 6, 2012, increases access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for some residents whose homes were impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires.
The new law exempts these residents from a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance coverage to become effective. Eligibility for the exception is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Individuals and businesses purchasing new insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) typically are required to wait 30 days for their flood insurance coverage to become effective. The reform provision in this bill created an exception to that requirement for property:
• That is affected by flooding that is caused or made worse by post-wildfire conditions on federal land, and
• Flood insurance was purchased not later than 60 days after the wildfire containment date. The High Park fire containment date was set as June 30, so the deadline for getting flood insurance that is eligible for the 30-day exception is midnight, Aug. 28.
Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States in terms of lives lost and property damaged. The NFIP provides a means for property owners to financially protect themselves against flooding, which typically isn’t covered by standard homeowners insurance.
The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.
The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by FEMA, which works with nearly 90 private insurance companies to provide affordable flood insurance to property owners and renters in NFIP-participating communities. One of the most critical ways to financially protect your home or business and its contents from flooding is to purchase flood insurance.
To learn about flood risks in your area and for information on flood insurance, contact your insurance agent, and visit www.floodsmart.gov. For more information on flood preparedness tips and ways you can protect your family before, during and after a flood visit www.ready.gov/floods.