El Paso County residents in the Waldo Canyon fire area must buy flood insurance by midnight September 9, 2012, to be eligible for an exception to the 30-day wait for flood insurance to go into effect, federal and state recovery officials said today.
The exception allows an insurance adjuster to determine whether flood damage to a home or business was caused or made worse by post-wildfire conditions on federal land. If so, a flood claim can be filed before the normal 30-day waiting period.
“If you live in or near a wildfire area, your risk of flooding could be worse,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We’ve already seen some flooding in the Waldo Canyon area. It will take years for the land to grow new vegetation, so the flood risk will stay around for a long time. It could happen a few years from now, or it could happen next week. We encourage everyone who may be affected to buy flood insurance right away, and definitely within the grace period.”
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, signed into law July 6, 2012, by President Obama, increases access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for some residents whose homes were impacted by flooding from federal land that resulted from wildfires.
The new law exempts these residents from a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance coverage. Eligibility for the exception is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Individuals and businesses purchasing new insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) typically are required to wait 30 days for their flood insurance coverage to become effective. The reform provision in this bill created an exception to that requirement for property:
• That is affected by flooding that is caused or made worse by post-wildfire conditions on federal land, and
• Flood insurance was purchased no later than 60 days after the wildfire containment date. The Waldo Canyon fire containment date was set as July 11, so the deadline for getting flood insurance that is eligible for the 30-day exception is midnight, September 9.
To learn about flood risks in your area and for information on flood insurance, contact your insurance agent, and visit www.floodsmart.gov. For more information on flood preparedness tips and ways you can protect your family before, during and after a flood visit www.ready.gov/floods.