NEW YORK, NY — Now that spring is here, flooding will be a major concern for many parts of the country.

The Northeast and Midwest received an abundance of snow this winter. Boston alone received more than 108 inches, making 2014-2015 the snowiest season in the city’s history. Until the frozen ground thaws, melting snow and heavy rains cannot be absorbed and the excess water can overflow streams, rivers, and lakes. The average National Flood Insurance Program flood claim between 2010 and 2014 was more than $42,000. Without flood insurance, you could be left to carry the financial burden of flood damage.

Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, and many consumers are unaware that standard homeowners insurance does not cover losses due to flooding. You need a flood insurance policy to financially protect what matters. Typically it takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to take effect, so don’t delay purchasing a flood insurance policy.

“It’s important for consumers not only to be covered, but also to understand what is covered by home insurance policies versus what is covered by flood insurance,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, the Insurance Information Institute’s (I.I.I.) chief communications officer. “If water comes into a home from the ground up, the general rule is that you’ll need to have flood insurance.”

“Read your policy carefully or call your insurance professional,” points out Salvatore. “For example, many consumers don’t realize that basement coverage is limited in standard flood insurance policies. It generally only covers systems–like a furnace, hot water heater, or a circuit breaker–but not items like furniture. So if you live in a flood-prone area, don’t keep valuable items in the basement.”

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