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State officials urge residents to consider flood insurance

As Illinoisans welcome April showers and May flowers, state and local agencies throughout the state are reminding residents to invest in flood insurance to protect their homes and businesses from flooding emergencies.

Flooding has been an increasing problem in recent years for Homewood and Flossmoor residents. 

Wet spring weather can bring an increased chance of spring flooding, regardless of whether homes and businesses are located near bodies of water. With this in mind, state officials are encouraging Illinois residents to consider flood insurance before the next flood occurs.

“Just one inch of water in a mid-sized home can cause up to $25,000 in damages,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said. “Flood insurance is one of the most important ways for people to financially protect their homes and belongings, allowing them to recover more quickly. But it also is important to act quickly – flooding insurance policies typically take up to 30 days to go into full effect.”

Flood insurance can provide immediate financial assistance regardless of whether a major disaster is declared by the President of the United States. In 2019, devastating river flooding occurred in more than 33 counties and impacted 2.1 million residents. Throughout the 2019 flood season, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provided more than $19.7 million to Illinois homeowners who submitted flood insurance claims. 

“Homeowners should purchase flood insurance through the private insurance market if their communities do not participate in the NFIP. An insurer or licensed agent can offer private flood insurance to help protect property and personal belongings,” Illinois Department of Insurance acting Director Dana Popish Severinghaus said“Flooding is the most frequent and costly disaster in the U.S., and private flood policies may provide higher amounts of coverage than the NFIP.  Still, homeowners should first find out if they’re eligible to purchase a preferred risk policy (PRP) through NFIP which may be available even they do not live in a floodplain.  Our IDOI insurance analysts can help answer questions about purchasing private flood insurance.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) can help you determine whether your property is located in a high-risk or a moderate- to low-risk area. These maps can be found online at http://msc.fema.gov/portal/search . Additional questions can be directed to a FEMA mapping specialist toll free at 1-877-336-2627.  To find out if your community is enrolled in NFIP, visit https://www.fema.gov/cis/IL.html.  For additional information about flood insurance, visit https://www.insureuonline.org/insureu_special_flood.htm.

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