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Now is the Time! RIEMA Urges Rhode Islanders to Buy Flood Insurance

In 2010, it was historic floods. In 2011, it was Tropical Storm Irene. In 2012, it was Hurricane Sandy. Rhode Island has experienced several significant flooding events in the past three years. Is your home or business financially protected from flood damages?

This week (March 18-22) is National Flood Awareness Week. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) urges anyone who owns or rents property near a body of water to purchase flood insurance. Standard home, renters' and business-owners' insurance policies do not cover flood-related damages. A separate flood insurance policy can be purchased through your local insurance agent.

"Flooding has impacted this State in each of the past three years," said RIEMA's Floodplain Coordinator Michelle Burnett. "With climate changes, increases in precipitation, and greater frequency of storms, we expect this trend to continue."

Purchasing a flood insurance policy for your home or business is the only way to financially protect your property. There is a 30-day waiting period before any new policy goes into effect, so purchasing a policy when a disaster is already predicted to hit the State will not provide any coverage. Rhode Islanders should have flood coverage when they need it most.

There are nearly 500,000 homes and businesses in Rhode Island, and less than 4% have flood insurance. There are two types of flood insurance coverage: one for the structure itself, and another for the contents of your home or business.

March and April are historically when flooding occurs in Rhode Island, but heavy rains can cause flooding any time of the year. The average annual premium in Rhode Island for property in a flood zone is $1,200, and the average cost of a policy for property in a low-risk area is only $125. All communities in the State participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which means all Rhode Islanders are eligible to purchase a flood insurance policy.

For additional assistance, contact RIEMA's Floodplain Management Program at 462-7048.

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