Floods have the potential to be extremely dangerous and damaging, as those of us in Kentucky have recently witnessed and/or experienced. The heavy rainfall (on top of already saturated ground) resulted in significant flooding in central and eastern sections of our Commonwealth. These Kentucky floods endangered lives, damaged personal property, and washed away roads. It brought much of the state to a standstill.
After wildfires, floods are the most widespread of all-natural disasters. Approximately 90% of all U.S. natural disasters (as officially declared by the President of the United States) include some degree of flooding. Within the last five years, all 50 states have experienced flooding or flash flooding.
What Counts As a Flood?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines flooding as “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: Overflow of inland waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, and mudflows.”
Will My Insurance Cover Flood Damage?
Flood insurance covers both the building and its contents from damage from flooding. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not contain flood insurance. Flood insurance is normally a separate policy. Unfortunately, most of the people who had property damage from the 2021 flooding do not have that extra flood insurance, so their damage will not be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Know Your Insurance
Remember that it is absolutely crucial to know exactly what your insurance policy covers and what it does not cover, before you need it. Normally flood coverage is written as a separate policy, however it is extremely important to know what coverage you have, and get the coverage you think you may need in the future.
After the flood (or other disaster) we recommend you contact your insurance carrier to ask specifically about flood coverage or any other provisions that would assist in recovery if you experienced any damage.
While most home owner’s policies do not contain flood coverage. Many auto insurance policies do, make sure you check if your vehicle was damaged by flooding with your car insurance carrier about flood damage coverage.
Some homeowner’s policies will cover expenses associated with mandatory evacuation orders. So, if you had to evacuate and incurred hotel or meal costs, save your receipts and check with your homeowner’s insurance agent to see if you can be reimbursed.
SPRING 2021 - DID FLOODING IMPACT YOU?
A total of 71 counties were officially declared a disaster after the flooding across the state this year in early 2021. Some of the hardest counties hit were in the eastern part of Kentucky: Estill, Lee, Owsley, Breathitt, Powell, Jackson, Clay and Johnson counties.
It is reported that Gov. Beshear is seeking federal aid to assist families and individuals with recovery after the recent flooding and is requesting assistance from FEMA for the state and the impacted individuals in Kentucky.
If you have suffered damages from a natural disaster like flooding, we recommend checking with your all your insurance carriers and with the resources below to determine what options may be available to you for disaster relief and help you with recovery.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has grant money available once the President or Governor declares the state a major disaster AND your county is named for individual assistance.
FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program provides up to $36,000 per household for temporary housing, repairs and construction, plus up to an additional $36,000 for other post-disaster needs.
You can apply for FEMA grants to:
Rent a place to live if your home is uninhabitable. If no rental units are available, you can apply for temporary housing. The help is for up to three months initially, with a maximum of 18 months.
Repair damage or to replace belongings not covered by insurance.
Help to pay other disaster-related expenses, such as funerals, medical and dental help, and child care.
If a state of emergency is not granted or FEMA grants are not enough to cover your damage. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a low cost loan program for disaster assistance.
You don’t have to own your home to qualify for an SBA disaster relief loan.
The loans are for uninsured damage to your primary residence and the terms are for 30 years, with low interests rates.
Local governments may be able to point you to further assistance programs managed by state or local municipalities. These programs may include free meals, provide disaster unemployment assistance and help you to apply for federal aid.
Many nonprofit organizations help following natural disasters. For instance, the American Red Cross, offers shelter, meals, cleanup supplies and sometimes one-on-one assistance with recovery planning