Flood insurance policies immediately available to some wildfire victims

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FEMA has stated that Colorado residents affected by the fires may qualify for NFIP.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that the Colorado residents who have been impacted by the High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfire flooding may become eligible for immediate flood insurance coverage through an exception to the 30 day waiting period that is usually required.

FEMA said that it made this decision following a U.S. Forest Service consultation.

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 into law.  This boosted the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) access for certain individuals whose homes were affected by flooding that came from federal lands as a result of wildfires.

This new law provides residents with an exemption of the NFIP requirement for a waiting period of 30 days before their policies become effective. The ability to qualify for this exception is determined on a case by case basis.

According to the Federal Insurance and Mitigation associate Administrator, David Miller, “Everyone should know their flood risk and make a smart decision based on their risk on whether they should join the millions of Americans who have purchased flood insurance for their homes.”

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In his statement, he also said that “Residents impacted by wildfires might live in an area that doesn’t usually have a high risk of flooding, but the fires and dry soil change conditions dramatically.”

Miller explained that the new flood insurance law provides individuals whose homes and businesses are at a high risk as a result of a wildfire on federal land with a new way to protect their properties. He encourages these property owners to look into this option to find out whether or not it is available to them.

Under typical circumstances the flood insurance policies require a 30 day wait period.

Before that time, the policy is not usually effective. However, the provision that has been reformed in the new law states that a property may be exempt if:

• Its flooding came from federal land
• The flooding is a result of or was made worse by conditions on federal land following a wildfire
• The home or business owner bought the flood insurance policy no later than 60 days after the wildfire was contained.

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