Flooding in the United States is a recurring event, is a fact known to all. Research studies have shown that floods have caused maximum economic loss to the nation than any other natural disaster. The severity of floods however varies from year to year and from location to location.
Providing relief against the devastating effects of floods has all along been a national priority with the US Government. The measures taken by the Government include flood hazard identification, making available federally subsidized flood insurance, state and local land-use controls designed to minimize flood loss.
During the year 1968, the Congress enacted the National Flood Insurance Act which is a well-conceived comprehensive flood risk management program. The objectives of the legislation are:
Minimize economic losses due to floods through purchase of flood insurance Promote state/local land-use controls to guide development away from flood-prone regions Bring down federal expenditures for disaster assistance and flood control.
Interestingly, the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) is today one of the major domestic liability – apart from Social Security System and Federal Health Programs. This goes to show how concerned the Government is in combating flood damages.
Since standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood, it is essential to have separate insurance protection from the floods caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, torrential rains etc. NFIP provides affordable flood insurance to house owners. Besides, NFIP works in close cooperation with FEMA specialists and contractors, hundreds of insurance agents, claims adjusters, private insurance companies, other connected public officials, and real estate agents.
House raising is imperative in the hurricane-prone east and Gulf coasts – more so, with beach houses and riverfront homes. The United States Government expects citizens to avail an insurance program against flood damage – as that way, grants for flood mitigation and recovery can be better controlled. In fact, two grant programs are in force – but the Government allows these grants only to communities that participate in NFIP.
House raising is one of the most effective mitigation measures to prevent flood damages. The idea is to elevate the house to the base flood elevation level or still higher. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) does the flood analysis and creates flood maps, while the NFIP manages the flood insurance. Although flood insurance is available to all house owners, the Federal Government insists on those with homes in high-risk flood zones to buy the insurance.
House raising is no doubt an expensive affair. FEMA offers assistance through its Flood Mitigation Assistance Program and Severe Repetitive Loss Program. States, tribal governments and NFIP-participating communities can apply for this. Flood Insurance Reform Act (an amendment to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968) was created in 2004. FEMA’s Severe Repetitive Loss program offers funds to projects to reduce or eliminate long-term flood damage risks to NFIP-insured houses and other structures. Like all other grant programs, FEMA provides its annually updated application and instructions on its website.
You can purchase NFIP through property and casualty insurance agents. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. These rates however vary according to the date and type of construction of your house and the level of risk.
House raising is a complicated task and you should never attempt to undertake home elevation without the assistance of an experienced contractor who is licensed for this type of work. There are several key steps you need to follow in order to prepare for and execute a plan to elevate your home.