Washington (February 19, 2020) - When discussing the risk of floods in the U.S., many assume coastal states face the greatest risk. However, according to Ray Farmer, National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) President and Director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI), states affected by other natural disasters, such as wildfires and winter storms, are often just as vulnerable.
“Awareness is a critical step in prevention,” said Director Farmer. “Homeowners should carefully evaluate environmental conditions and invest the time and money necessary to reduce their risk, preventing catastrophic damage before it happens.”
In the wake of raging forest fires, western areas of the U.S. are left vulnerable to mudflows and flood conditions. Without flood insurance, residents living in places like California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana and Arizona face the risk of disaster without proper coverage. Additionally, areas prone to harsh winter storms also face an elevated and often unexpected risk of flood conditions. Ice dams and snowmelt can cause flash floods, which are generally not covered by regular homeowners insurance policies, and hailstorms can cause roof damage, leaving homes susceptible in the event of heavy rain.
Mitigating risk of flooding, fires, storms and other weather events can be accomplished by keeping your roof in good repair; trimming trees away and removing any weakened sections that might break off and fall onto buildings; and maintaining defensible space around your home. To protect property from ice dams:
- Keep drains, gutters and downspouts free of debris to promote proper flow.
- Relocate heat sources that are installed in open attic areas that are directly under the roof.
- Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as vents.
- Install heating cables on eaves, gutters and downspouts or around flat roofs. This will create effective channels to allow water to drain safely.
The NAIC also recommends purchasing flood insurance to help protect the life you have worked hard to build.