Lafayette, LA [August 20, 2019] – It’s peak hurricane season, and FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are urging Lafayette residents to act now to prepare before it’s too late. Two years ago, Hurricane Harvey caused devastating flooding across Louisiana damaging roughly 2,000 homes, and in 2016, prolonged rainfall resulted in catastrophic flooding, with areas from Lafayette to just east of Baton Rouge hit especially hard. This year, NOAA is predicting an above-average season with five to nine hurricanes, including two to four storms category 3 or higher.
Take steps to help you and your family stay safe during a storm:
- Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area and download the FEMA app.
- Learn your evacuation zone.
- Develop a family/household communication plan, and designate a place for family to meet if you are separated.
- Build a preparedness kit or “go-bag” with water, food, medications, clothing, and critical financial, medical, and legal documents and records.
- Purchase or renew flood insurance.
One of the most important steps homeowners and renters can take to prepare is to buy or renew flood insurance, which allows individuals, communities, and businesses to recover faster and more fully after a disaster.
Whether it’s a major flood or just an inch of water, flood insurance helps cover the cost of flood damage and allows residents to get back to normal faster after a storm. Just one inch of water in an average-sized home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs, and most homeowners and renters policies do not typically cover flood damage.
Flood insurance will also cover some mitigation costs to help you prepare your property before the storm. NFIP flood insurance policies will cover up to $1,000 in reasonable expenses to protect your insured property—including sandbags, water pumps, plastic sheeting, and lumber—and up to $1,000 to move your insured property away from a flood or imminent danger of a flood.
Residents with flood insurance whose homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey received, on average, over $100,000 more to rebuild than neighbors who had to rely on FEMA benefits. Disaster assistance comes in two forms: A U.S. Small Business Administration loan, which must be paid back with interest, or a FEMA disaster grant, which is about $5,000 on average per household. Both programs have strict eligibility requirements based on individual need and many disaster survivors may not qualify. By comparison, the average flood insurance claim is nearly $30,000 and does not have to be repaid.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season runs until November 30. Don’t wait, take steps to ensure you and your family stay safe during a storm, and purchase or renew flood insurance today. New policies typically take 30 days to go into effect.
For more information, visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-4661.