On April 1st, Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed the month of April as Maryland’s Flood Awareness Month. And for good reason. Each year, floods are responsible for more deaths than any other natural disaster.

As it is predicted that storms are going to increase in both frequency and intensity over time, the necessity and importance of obtaining flood insurance is becoming even more essential.

Governor Hogan’s Administration is joining forces with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the Maryland Insurance Administration, the Maryland Department of Planning, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Environmental Service, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and the Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers in an effort to encourage residents of Maryland to learn more about the various flood hazards they could face.

Maryland’s bays and tributaries are subject to flooding after either short periods of heavy rain or prolonged steady rain. Additionally, hurricanes and tropical storms can cause tidal flooding.

Flood Insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), not specifically though any particular insurance carrier or provider. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood insurance; it needs to be purchased separately. It is important to note that flood insurance policies can be purchased from an insurance carrier under contract with FEMA.

You may be wondering what exactly is covered under a flood insurance policy. If disaster strikes and your home is flooded, it can help cover: your home and its foundation, your electrical and plumbing systems, air conditioning equipment, furnaces and heaters, appliances i.e. washers and dryers, refrigerators and stoves. It can also cover damage to your personal possessions like your clothing, furniture and electronic equipment. Under a typical flood insurance policy, your personal property is only covered on an actual cash value basis. The maximum coverage amount for a flood insurance policy is $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for the contents of the home.

When you buy a flood insurance policy, it is also important to remember that there is a waiting period of 30 days before your flood policy takes effect. Do not wait until you need it to get it.

Without a flood insurance policy, relief from damage caused by flooding usually comes in the form of loans. If your area is deemed a disaster area, the federal government may provide no-interest or low-interest loans as an effort to assist in the recovery process. You are still responsible for paying these loans back out of your own pocket. Having a flood insurance policy in place just in case a disaster strikes could protect you against possible financial ruin.

As stated earlier, there is a waiting period of 30 days before a flood insurance policy goes into effect, so it is best to get the ball rolling towards obtaining a policy sooner rather than later.