Water-Related News

The rainy season's coming: Review/add flood insurance now

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The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners is asking residents to review their current flood insurance policy ahead of the normal rainy season to ensure proper coverage and, if not covered, to consider adding flood insurance.

Property owners and renters are reminded that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Summer downpours can cause localized flooding, which can affect properties that have never flooded before.

“As we head into our rainy season, we encourage all homeowners, business property owners and those who rent to keep their flood policies in force or to add flood insurance to their coverage no matter where they live in Pinellas County,” said Commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch. “Along with creating an inventory of their belongings, photographing and videotaping their properties and possessions, it’s one of the best ways everyone can prepare for storm season.”

Regular homeowners' insurance does not typically cover damage caused by floods and hurricanes. Flood insurance, on the other hand, provides coverage for water intrusion due to flooding caused by heavy rains, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Property owners should be aware that flood insurance is mandatory for federally-backed mortgages on buildings located in the FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area. More than 20 percent of flood insurance claims come from areas that are not in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Property owners can take advantage of a highly discounted Preferred Risk Policy if they are outside of the FEMA high risk area.

Because the County and its municipalities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners whether or not they are in a designated flood zone. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before a flood policy goes into effect.

Pinellas County and most of its municipalities also participate in the federal Community Rating System (CRS), which provides discounts on flood insurance. Properties in the unincorporated area of the county are eligible for up to a 25 percent premium discount, which is a savings of more than $5 million per year in flood insurance policy premiums.

Residents and business owners can find out about their flood risk or get flood insurance technical assistance by visiting www.pinellascounty.org/flooding or calling (727) 464-7700.