Need for flood insurance mixed among area agencies

With April showers, the potential for flooding increases.

Since flood damage is not covered by homeowner’s policies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests homeowners should look into purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

“Flooding can and does happen in any area, that’s why I encourage everyone to consider getting flood insurance,” said FEMA Region III Administrator MaryAnn Tierney in a statement.

Local insurance agents have mixed opinions on whether it is necessary, however,

“[Homeowners] should at least look into it. You don’t have to live in a flood zone to suffer a flood. We don’t know for sure where a flood may strike,” said Mark Gingrich, treasurer of Warren A. Gingrich Agency, Altoona. “If you live in a flood zone and you have a loan, the bank will require you to carry it.”

Both Mona Boyles, personal lines insurance agent at Allison, Myers, Beaver and Vellone, Altoona, and Shelley Baker, an agent for Brumbaugh Insurance Group Inc., Duncansville, said unless you live in a flood zone it may not be necessary.

However, Baker said some people may want to look into flood insurance to cover surface water runoff, which is not covered by a homeowner’s policy and is considered flooding.

Flood insurance is easy to get.

Gingrich said some people believe you must live in a flood zone to qualify, but anyone can obtain a flood policy.

However, one key difference of a National Flood Insurance Program policy from another insurance policy is the 30-day waiting period prior to the policy going into effect.

“If there is a hurricane coming, you just can’t rush out and get the insurance and have it take effect,” Gingrich said.

According to FEMA, the average cost of flood insurance is about $650 a year.

“If you live next to a creek, it is going to be more expensive. It depends on the potential for flooding,” Gingrich said. “If you are not in a highly rated flood zone, it is relatively inexpensive. If you live in a flood zone, it can be costly.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.