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Flood Watch, Warning, Advisory: Know the Difference and Be Prepared

Flooded Street

While flood insurance typically covers the repair or replacement of the built structure of your home in the event of a flood, understanding the need to evacuate is critical to your safety. More than half of flood-related deaths happen when people drive vehicles into flood water. People who try walking into or near flood waters make up the second-highest percentage of flood-related deaths.

In addition to keeping your insurance information in a safe place, you should be aware of the differences between the National Weather Services issued advisories, watches, and warnings. 

  • Flood Advisory – Heavy rain is forecast to occur and may require additional action. Stay tuned to your local radio or tv station to stay informed.
  • Flood Watch – A flood watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It doesn’t mean flooding will occur, but you should be prepared. This has a higher likelihood of flooding than a flood advisory.
  • Flood Warning – A flood warning is issued when a hazardous weather event that may cause a flood is imminent or underway.
  • Flash Flood Warning – A flash flood is a sudden, intense flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring.

The NAIC also offers the following information about flood risks, preparation and insurance.

About the NAIC

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally. For more information, visit www.naic.org.

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