FLOOD Insurance: buy now, save later

Published 6:10 pm Friday, June 13, 2008

Across south Mississippi, communities are beginning to adopt the new Digital Flood insurance Rate Maps. As this process unfolds, federal and state officials encourage residents o examine their own status regarding flood insurance coverage.

Some communities, such as Gulfport and Pascagoula, have already adopted the new maps. Residents If those communities who had flood insurance policies in effect at the time their new maps were :adopted may save hundreds of dollars in lower premiums because they were able to maintain their current flood zones.

Once communities adopt the new maps, flood zones in the coastal counties may change. Residents are advised not to wait until the last minute to act as, in most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect.

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“If you take into account the 30-day waiting period and the fact that the new hurricane season has officially begun, the only logical conclusion is that now is the best time to purchase flood insurance,” said Mike Womack, director for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Residents who wait to purchase their policy after the new flood maps are adopted may pay a much higher premium for their flood insurance because of the change in base flood elevations of their property.

“Some residents may be waiting for the new maps to be approved before purchasing a flood insurance policy,” said Sid Melton, director of Mississippi’s Transitional Recovery Office. “But they need to understand that by waiting they could be costing themselves hundreds of dollars more down the road.”

“Remember, those who have a flood insurance policy in effect at the time their community adopts the new map will be able to maintain their old flood zones,” said Melton.

For questions concerning coverage, contact a local insurance agents or the NFIP Call Center in Biloxi at 866-925-8789. To find out if a community participates in the NFIP, go to vww.floodsmart.gov.