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State insurance regulators urge property owners to review/add coverage for floods & water damage

Most homeowner policies do not cover flood damage

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[April 30, 2014]  CHICAGO Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron urges people to prepare and protect their homes from possible flooding. As Illinois communities welcome springtime weather after the significant snowfall during this winter season, potentially heavy rains could result in another rough year for flood-prone areas throughout the state. Spring is a visible reminder of the potential for floods along with torrential rain and damaging winds.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and one of the most expensive. In 2013, flooding in 49 Illinois counties broke all-time records.

"Consumers should be aware that standard homeowner, condominium and renter policies do not cover flood damage," Boron said. "Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. We urge consumers to be prepared. Know your insurance policy limits before damage occurs."

The Department of Insurance offers the following information for property owners and renters:

  • Call an insurance agent to inquire about the availability of flood coverage in your area. Flood insurance becomes effective 30 days after it is purchased, so the sooner you secure coverage, the better.

  • Get a premium quote on flood insurance. Cost depends on where you live and the amount of coverage you choose.

  • Standard flood coverage does not typically cover damage resulting from sewer backups or sump pump issues. Ask if additional coverage is appropriate to add to your policy. Ask your insurance company or agent for clarification on how flood versus water/sewer backup versus sump pump issues are defined.

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  • There are steps you can take before a disaster strikes to make it easier to file and recover insurance claims. For example, homeowners and renters should regularly review all of their insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage and affordable deductible levels; take an inventory of personal property; make photocopies of their insurance policies and keep all such important papers in a secure location away from their home. Taking pictures of various rooms and the contents is great documentation.

For more information about insurance coverage in the event of a flood or other disaster, visit http://insurance.illinois.gov/ or see the consumer fact sheet "When Disaster Strikes: What to Do After an Insured Homeowners Loss" at http://insurance.illinois.gov/
HomeInsurance/disaster.asp
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[Text from Illinois Department of Insurance file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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