At the beginning of each hurricane season, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty urges Floridians to purchase flood insurance to protect their homes. This is a 2007 news release, but it is still current and important. April 26, 2007

NEWS FROM THE FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION

"We learned several lessons from the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons,' Commissioner McCarty said. "One of those lessons was that many people were unaware that flood damage is not covered by homeowners' policies. Buying flood insurance is easy, affordable, and provides an extra layer of security in the event of a catastrophic event."

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one research report cited up to 80% of properties damaged in Mississippi and 60% of properties in low-lying New Orleans did not have flood coverage. This also spawned litigation, whether specific damage was caused by hurricane force-winds or the accompanying storm surge. Some litigation in the Gulf coast states is still pending.

"In Florida nearly one-third of Florida's homes do have flood insurance, but that still leaves two-thirds of families without this coverage. Even people outside of the flood zones should consider obtaining coverage," McCarty adds. A Rand Corporation study showed one-third of all floods occurred outside standard flood hazard areas; however, only one percent of people outside the flood plains buy insurance.

Florida consumers can purchase flood insurance for up to $250,000 in property damage, and $100,000 for personal contents. Most flood insurance policies may cost less than $1,000 a year in the flood zone and less than $200 a year outside the flood zone depending on the coverage selected.

Information about the National Flood Insurance Program can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website at: http://www.fema.gov/nfip.

In addition, consumers can check their relative flood risk by visiting http://www.floodsmart.gov

and entering specific property information. The tool provides consumers with the relative flood risk of a property and links to flood insurance resources.