Unless you haven’t been listening to the news or talking with anyone for the past three months or so,  you know that we are reportedly in for a monster storm season this winter. Flooding, mudslides and more are all predicted as we are inundated with rain early next year. In the ongoing conversation, we keep hearing about the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. But what is it all about?

According to the NFIP website (www.flood smart.gov), The National Flood Insurance Program was created by Congress in 1968 to help victims of floods a way to minimize losses after a disaster.  A flood is described as “a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.”

As this insurance coverage is not usually offered under a standard homeowners policy, to protect yourself from heavy flood losses, you must purchase an NFIP policy from an authorized insurance agent or broker.

So what is covered by a NFIP policy?

Building Property: The insured building and its foundation; Electrical and plumbing systems; Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters; Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances such as dishwashers; Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring; Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets; Window blinds; Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy; and Debris removal.

Personal Property: Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment; Curtains; Portable and window air conditioners; Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers; Carpets that are not included in building coverage; Clothing washers and dryers; Food freezers and the food in them; and Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

What is NOT Covered? This is very important to know: Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner; Currency, precious metals and valuable papers such as stock certificates; Property and belongings outside of an insured building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools; Living expenses such as temporary housing; Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property; and Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts.

Make sure you are not left with big flood losses you could have avoided. Talk to your insurance professional to be sure you have the coverage you need.