NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As the spring rainy season approaches, Louisiana homeowners, renters and business owners are urged to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
According to FEMA, a few inches of floodwater can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Flood insurance is recommended even when properties aren't in flood plains or high-risk zones. Properties located in high-risk areas have at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
Properties located in moderate- to low-risk areas may qualify for lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy rates, according to FEMA.
FEMA says more than 50 percent of the homes and businesses damaged by the August 2016 floods in Louisiana were located in moderate- and low-risk areas. The NFIP disbursed more than $2.4 billion to Louisiana policyholders for this disaster. The average claim payment for this disaster was more than $90,000. Payments are calculated on the value of the structure minus the depreciation at the time of the disaster.
There is a 30-day waiting period between purchasing a policy and the date the policy goes into effect.
FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. Assistance only provides the basic needs for a home to be habitable. Insurance covers more damage. NFIP payments are not dependent on state or federal disaster declarations, according to FEMA's news release.
Visit ready.gov/floods for flood information and safety tips.