Ohioans Urged to Evaluate Need for Flood Insurance

COLUMBUS – Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 20-26 and Ohio Department of Insurance Director Judith L. French urges Ohioans to conduct a spring insurance review, including evaluating the need for flood insurance. Just one inch of floodwater can cause $25,000 of damage to a home.

Flood insurance typically is not included in a standard property insurance policy. It has to be purchased separately.

“Individuals and businesses without proper insurance protection risk encountering costly out-of-pocket repairs,” French said. “I encourage property owners to complete an insurance review with an agent and to contact the Ohio Department of Insurance with any questions.”

Federal government information indicates that policyholders outside of designated high-risk flood areas file nearly half of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance claims and request one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding.

French provided this spring insurance review checklist:

  • Consider flood insurance: The federal government’s NFIP program provides most flood insurance policies. Sold by insurance agents, a 30-day waiting period applies before coverage begins. Visit floodsmart.gov for information. Also, determine if insurance coverage for sewer or drain backup is appropriate to add to your property policy.
  • Review coverage amounts: Most standard homeowners, renters, and business insurance policies generally cover rain, hail, lightning, wind, and tornado damage. However, policyholders should determine whether their coverage amounts reflect the value of their property and possessions. Also, review any policy exclusions.
  • Evaluate personal possessions coverage: Actual cash value pays the value of the item the day it was destroyed. Replacement cost coverage pays in accordance with the value of a comparable item at the current market price. Renters should consider renters insurance to protect their possessions.
  • Assess roof repair/replacement deductible: Most policies have a wind/hail deductible. It is either a flat dollar amount or a percentage amount based on the home’s insured amount, not the damage amount. Be clear on how much you may have to pay.
  • Determine after-the-fact expenses coverage: Inquire if the policy pays for such things as fire department charges, temporary repairs, debris removal, trees and shrubs, personal property storage, and certain living expenses.
  • Conduct a home inventory: Listing your possessions with photos and their values will prove worthwhile during claim filing. It will also help determine adequate amounts of insurance. Download a free home inventory app or print an inventory checklist from insurance.ohio.gov.

A severe weather preparation and recovery toolkit is available on the Ohio Department of Insurance website, www.insurance.ohio.gov. Department insurance experts are available at 800-686-1526 and consumer.complaint@insurance.ohio.gov to answer questions.

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