Tag Archive for: disaster assistance

Harvey Households Covered by FEMA Group Flood Insurance Should Buy Standard Flood Insurance by Oct. 24

Harvey households covered by FEMA group flood insurance should prepare now to buy standard flood insurance by Oct. 24. Lack of coverage may affect eligibility for future disaster assistance.

Photo of Harvey damage courtesy of Alexis Faust.

What is Group Flood Insurance?

Many families affected by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 did not have flood insurance.

As part of its disaster assistance, FEMA provided Group Flood Insurance Policies (GFIP) to 6,704 households across counties impacted by Harvey.

Group Policies End October 24

These three-year policies end Oct. 24. So policyholders must now switch to a standard flood insurance policy to ensure continuous coverage. 

Those who received a GFIP policy as part of their FEMA disaster assistance after Harvey but don’t buy a standard flood insurance policy are at increased risk. They will likely not receive federal disaster assistance for home repairs if they experience another flood. Just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to a home.

Purchasing a flood insurance policy is one of the best ways to protect from financial loss.

Flood Insurance Requirements for Harvey Households

Here are flood insurance requirements for Harvey households:

If you are a homeowner who received a GFIP policy: 

Flood insurance coverage must be maintained for the address of the flood-damaged property. The flood insurance requirement is transferred to any new owner of the address and continues for as long as the address exists. If you sell your home, call the NFIP direct servicing agency at 800-638-6620 to transfer your policy to the new homeowner. 

If you are a renter who received a GFIP policy: 

Flood insurance coverage must be maintained on the contents of the rental property for as long as the renter remains at the flood-damaged address. If you move from your damaged rental property, the flood insurance requirement is not transferred to the next renter.

How to Get or Renew an NFIP Policy

Contact your insurance agent to discuss the cost of a standard flood insurance policy. If you don’t have an agent, you can call 800-427-4661 for an insurance agent referral. Visit www.FloodSmart.gov or www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program for more information about flood insurance.

If You Received Disaster Assistance, You Must Maintain Flood Insurance

The National Flood Insurance Reform Act and FEMA regulations require applicants who receive federal financial assistance to buy and maintain flood insurance. This is as a condition to receive assistance for future flood damage to any insurable property for acquisition or construction purposes. If your household received disaster assistance after Harvey, and you live in a special flood hazard area, you must maintain flood insurance.To find out if you have a flood insurance requirement, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS – Video Relay Service) (TTY: 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

To learn more about GFIP, visit https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/133710.

Harvey impacted 41,500 square miles of Texas. If it rains it can flood. That means all Texans should purchase or renew flood insurance policies. The 2020 hurricane season begins June 1, but a policy protects you from financial losses from other flood events all year.

For More Information

For additional information about Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit:

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/27/2020 based on information from FEMA and Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s Office

912 Days after Hurricane Harvey

Benefits of Flood Insurance vs. Disaster Assistance

At the 2018_FloodWarn_Training_Kingwood on May 2, Diane Cooper of FEMA pointed out several startling statistics about the Hurricane Harvey Flood and flood insurance.

Home outside the 100-year flood plain during Hurricane Harvey.

According to the City of Houston, approximately 90,000 structures OUTSIDE of the 0.2% Risk Area (500-year flood plain) were impacted. Additionally, another 30,500 structures INSIDE the 1% risk area (100-year flood plain) and 29,000 in the 0.2% risk area flooded.

However, out of approximately 150,000 total homes flooded, only 26,511 insurance claims were filed. That’s because approximately only one in six Houstonians had flood insurance.

Most people felt that if they lived outside the 1% risk area, flood insurance was an expense they could do without. Yet four in every five flooded homes were outside the 1% risk area.

Let’s examine flood insurance vs. disaster assistance as hedge against such risk.

The following information came from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) portion of the FEMA website.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance has six primary benefits:

  • You are in control. Flood insurance claims are paid even if a disaster is not declared by the President.
  • More than 20 percent of NFIP claims from from outside of mapped Special Flood Hazard Areas.
  • There is no payback requirement.
  • Flood insurance policies are continuous, and are no non-renewable or canceled for repeat losses.
  • Flood insurance reimburses you for all covered building losses up to $250,000 for residential occupancies and upon to $500,000 for businesses. Contents coverage is also available up to $100,000 for residential occupancies and up to $500,000 for businesses.
  • The average cost of a flood insurance policy is about $600 annually. The cost of a preferred risk policy is less than $450 annually, if you live in a moderate-to-low-risk area.

Disaster Assistance

Compared to flood insurance, disaster assistance has several drawbacks.

  • Most forms of Federal disaster assistance require a Presidential declaration.
  • Federal disaster assistance declarations are not awarded in all flooding incidents.
  • The most typical form of disaster assistance is a loan that must be repaid with interest.
  • The duration of a small Business Administration (SBA) disaster home loan could extend to 30 years.
  • The average Individuals and Households Program award for Presidential disaster declarations related to flooding in 2008 was less than $4,000.
  • Repayment on a $50,000 SBA disaster home load is $240 a month or $2,880 annually at 4 percent interest.

The More You Know, the Better Flood Insurance Looks

Everyone should have flood insurance. Remember, not all flooding comes from rivers and streams. During Harvey, thousands of homes flooded from overflowing streets when storm drains and sewers backed up. Floods can happen anytime, anywhere…even in deserts.

Homeowners insurance policies typically don’t cover flood damage. Disaster assistance payouts will not come close to covering all the damage that people typically suffer from a flood. And the most common type of disaster assistance is a loan that must be repaid with interest.

You can buy flood insurance through the NFIP regardless of your flood risk; it’s easy to get through any licensed broker. You can even use your credit card. Consider it seriously as we enter another hurricane season and a tropical wave is expected to slime us this weekend.

Posted by Bob Rehak on June 12, 2018

287 Days since Hurricane Harvey