With Minnesota’s record snowfall and the potential for rapid melting when warm temperatures arrive, the risk of late winter or early spring flooding may be much higher this year.
The State Climatology Office with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources posts a weekly map of snow depth throughout the state (dnr.state.mn.us/ climate/snowmap). In addition to snow depth, other factors that affect flood risk include the water content of the snow, how quickly the snow melts and whether heavy rain occurs during the snowmelt.
In recent years, floods have caused many Minnesotans to suffer major property damage and serious financial losses due to a lack of flood insurance protection.
It is important for Minnesotans to know three things about flood insurance:
• Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners
• There is a 30-day waiting period after purchasing
a flood insurance policy
before it takes effect.
• Flooding can occur even
outside of flood-prone areas.
The Minnesota Commerce Department encourages Minnesotans to review their specific risks and needs to determine whether flood insurance coverage makes sense for their property.
Flood insurance is available through the federallybacked National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can be purchased through many licensed property insurance agents.
Separate policies may be purchased for a building or its contents. The program also offers flood insurance for renters and businesses.
Flood insurance is worth considering even for Minnesotans who do not live in flood-prone areas.
Nationally, more than 20 percent of all NFIP flood insurance claims come from properties mapped outside of high-risk flood areas. The NFIP offers lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies specifically designed for residential properties located in moderate- to low-risk flood zones.
More information about flood insurance is available at www.floodsmart.gov. As with any insurance policy, carefully review the details before purchasing. It is important to know both what is covered and what is not.
The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (msc.fema.gov) is the official public source for flood hazard information in support of the NFIP. You can use the service to find your official flood map, Commerce is here to help
If you have a concern or problem with your insurance policy, insurance agent or insurance company, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer. email@example.com or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).