Residents urged to get flood insurance ahead of extreme summer weather

Insurance would protect homes, businesses and possessions if damaged by flooding

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman urged property owners to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their homes, businesses and possessions. For many Pennsylvanians, extreme weather, including flooding caused by hurricanes and severe thunderstorms, can be a common occurrence throughout the state during the summer months.

“Flooding is a threat across all of Pennsylvania during this time of year due to heavy summer storms. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so homeowners should review their policies and consider this added protection,” said Altman. “It’s important to be prepared for any potential disaster during the volatile summer weather. Flood insurance protection, in addition to having an emergency supply kit on hand, is a good step to take to mitigate risk to your family and home.”

Homeowners who live in federally designated Special Flood Hazard Areas are likely required to have flood insurance by their mortgage lenders, however, the NFIP says 20 percent of its claims come from outside of SFHAs. Individuals looking to purchase new homes and properties should research before buying to determine if the area is prone to flooding. Renters can buy flood insurance protection for their possessions as well, which are typically not covered by either a standard renters’ insurance policy, or a landlord’s policy which covers the building.

Pennsylvania has seen the number of private market flood policies grow considerably in recent years. There are now (as of January 2020) more than 10,900 policies covering owner-occupied private residential properties and secondary/seasonal properties statewide, compared to approximately 1,500 policies in January 2016.

Flood insurance is available through both the National Flood Insurance Program, a federally funded resource for flood victims, and private insurers. Policies can be purchased through licensed property and casualty insurance agents in Pennsylvania to cover almost any building and its contents, including rental property and condominiums.

“Flood insurance is one element of preparing for flood emergencies,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “Having a family communications plan and knowing where you would go if you were told to evacuate is another piece.”

Padfield said free family emergency plan templates and downloadable checklists are available on the ReadyPA website. You can also sign up for free weather alerts from a trusted local media source or AlertPA.

Information on both the NFIP and private flood insurance is available here.

“I encourage homeowners to make use of these resources available, talk to some experts, and shop around for the most suitable policy for their particular property,” said Altman.