Flood After Fire: The Increased Risk

Residents living in and around areas impacted by wildfires, such as the Western U.S., face an increased risk of flooding – for up to several years after a wildfire. It typically takes 30 days for a new National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance policy to go into effect, so the time to buy flood insurance is now.

Knowing you can recover brings peace of mind.

No home is completely safe from potential flooding. When just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation.

Risk of Flooding After A Wildfire Icon
Risk of Flooding After A Wildfire

Large-scale wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions. Normally, vegetation absorbs rainfall, reducing runoff. However, wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating conditions ripe for flash flooding and mudflow. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored - up to 5 years after a wildfire.

Flooding after a fire is often more severe, as it takes very little rain to cause a flood or mudflows. As rainwater moves across charred and denuded ground, it can also pick up soil and sediment and carry it in a stream of floodwaters. This can cause more significant damage.

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Get Covered

Why should I purchase flood insurance if:

  • A: Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Only flood insurance covers the cost of rebuilding after a flood.

  • A: Flooding can happen anywhere at any time. Poor drainage systems, summer storms, melting snow, neighborhood construction, and broken water mains can all result in flooding.

    In high-risk areas, there is at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

  • A: Even though flood insurance isn’t required for your property, flooding can happen to anyone.

    In fact, from 2014 to 2018, policyholders outside of high-risk flood areas filed over 40 percent of all NFIP flood insurance claims and required one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding.

    Property owners in the moderate- to low-risk flood areas are eligible for lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs). The PRP provides the same building and contents coverage at a more affordable price.

  • A: Federal disaster assistance is only made available when there is a Presidential disaster declaration, and most flood events do not result in a declaration. Disaster assistance typically comes in the form of loans that must be repaid – with interest!

    Disaster assistance from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration is designed to kick-start recovery, but is not enough restore your home to its pre-disaster condition or to replace your treasured household items.

    Flood insurance does not have to be paid back, and it is designed to restore your property to its pre-disaster condition. There is no better way to protect the life you’ve built than with NFIP flood insurance.

  • A: It’s likely your landlord has flood insurance that covers the building, but not its contents.

    Affordable, contents-only flood insurance will help you protect the items inside of your unit in the event of a flood.