Sunday, March 17, 2013

Are you covered if there's a flood? Because 98% of Kansas households are NOT.

In honor of National Flood Safety Awareness Week, let's consider the following hypothetical situation.

Say it’s springtime, and you notice a weather warning pop up on your TV – a severe thunderstorm and heavy rainfall is headed your way. It’s a little dreary, but no big deal…a little rain never killed anybody, right?


Heavy rainfall is one of the top causes of flash flooding, which is a type of flood that can turn a puddle into a torrential river in a matter of minutes, and they can happen virtually anywhere. Besides being the #1 weather-related killer in the U.S., flash floods (or floods of any kind for that matter) can cause an incredible amount of damage. They can rip out trees, roll boulders and destroy structures like buildings and bridges. They can even happen when there is no visible sign of rain – if rain has fallen upstream, gravity is going to pull that water your way.

It goes without saying that the most important thing during a flood is making sure you and your family are as safe as possible. But once you are out of danger, you might think you can stop worrying. Even if there is damage, you figure that’s what your homeowners insurance is for…but unless you have a separate flood insurance policy, none of that damage is going to be covered.

A lot of people would probably be surprised to learn that homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. Flood insurance is federally regulated, meaning that in order to have coverage for a flood you have to purchase a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Created in 1968 by Congress to provide property owners with a way to protect themselves, the NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Premiums are determined by the flood risk based on Flood Hazard Mapping.

Some homeowners are required by their lender to carry flood insurance if they are in a high risk zone. But most people in low risk areas are not, and even those who are at high risk don't all carry insurance.

According to the 2010 Census, there are more than 1,100,000 households in Kansas, but FEMA statistics say that as of January 2013 there were only 13,132 flood insurance policies in force. We’ll let the math point out the poor tidings – that means less than 2% of Kansas households have flood coverage

For a state that is known for its flat stretches of plains and relatively few large bodies of water, this might not seem so strange. The problem is, as stated before, floods can happen almost anywhere for a variety of reasons…even in the seemingly most unlikely of places. Take this 2012 flood in Las Vegas, where they get an average of only 4 inches of rain a year. Compare that to our average here in Lawrence of 37 inches and suddenly the prospect of a flood doesn't seem so odd.

When these unexpected floods happen, a lot of people who thought they didn’t have to worry end up completely out of luck...not to mention out of A LOT of money.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is, if you are reading this before you experience a flood, you can still take steps to prevent financial disaster.

Contact your insurance agent today to find out what steps you need to take to get flood insurance coverage. Most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period after you buy it before coverage takes effect, so be proactive. Protect yourself and your family before it is too late.

Because, while this little guy might feel at home living in the water, I sort of doubt you will.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week - Become a Force of Nature!

Prepare yourself for severe weather - join Kansas Insurance in becoming a Force of Nature!

The past few years have been tough for Kansas in terms of storm damage. In 2011 alone, Kansas weather-related losses reached a record breaking $1.095 billion, surpassing the previous storm loss record by close to $400 million! Nationally, just last year there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Tornadoes struck approximately 46 states, caused over $1.6 billion in damage and nearly 70 fatalities. There were more than 935 tornadoes in 2012, with 206 in April alone. While April and May are peak months, tornadoes happen all year round.

This week, March 3-9, 2013, has been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as National Severe Weather  Preparedness Week, and they have started a campaign to urge all Americans to Be a Force of Nature.

Building a Weather-Ready Nation requires that every individual and community take action because severe weather knows no boundaries and affects us all.

So how can you participate?

Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-savvy is to understand which types of
hazardous weather risks affect you where you live, and how severe weather could impact
you and your family. Every state in the United States has experienced tornadoes and other severe weather events, so no matter where you live you are exposed to some degree of  risk. The FEMA website has a lot of good information about all kinds of natural disasters and how to prepare to protect your family during emergencies.

Pledge and Take Action: Be Force of Nature by taking the Pledge to Prepare at By taking the pledge, you are committing to taking action to make sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes filling out a family communications plan that you can email to yourself, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

Stay informed: Ensure that you receive updates about severe weather by having multiple sources for weather alerts: obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, sign up for weather alerts through a local news organizations (such as these from the Lawrence Journal-World) or other emergency weather officials and see if your cell phone is compatible with Wireless Emergency Alerts

Be an Example: Once you have taken action and pledged to Be a Force of Nature, share your story with your family and friends. Create a video and post on a video sharing site; post your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, comment on a blog, or share through any other social media site. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the steps you took to help achieve the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation.

Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example by sharing your knowledge and actions through your social network are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and assist in saving lives.

Kansas Insurance is committed to Being a Force of Nature. Are you?

*Note: The bulk of this post's content was provided by Visit to find resources you can share with your community.