FEMA National Flood Insurance Program

Citizens at Increased Risk of Flooding Following a Wildfire A wildfire with a house that is flooded after

As the region affected by the Knolls Fire recovers from the recent devastation caused by wildfires, the city warns residents living in and surrounding wildfire areas about the high risk of flash flooding and mudflows, and is urging them to protect their homes, businesses, and personal property with flood insurance.  

Wildfires result in a loss of vegetation and leave the ground charred and unable to absorb water. This creates conditions for flooding. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.

Floods are the most common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Just an inch of water in an average-sized home can cause more than $25,000 in damage[s]. Most homeowner and renters’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy that protects homes and belongings from floodwater damage so residents can recover after a storm. Policies typically take 30 days to go into effect, so it is important for residents to call their insurance agents now to plan ahead.


The state representative for the Division of Emergency Management, Kathy Holder, provided helpful clarifications for residents with their agents to get flood insurance from the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program after the Knolls Fire.

Residents should ask their insurance agents specifically for the “NFIP Preferred Risk Policy.” Kathy said the FEMA National Flood Insurance program covers:
• The structure and contents of a home’s floors above ground level, with limited coverage on any type of basement (see the list for basement coverage in the following link http://www.saratogaspringscity.com/…/Whats-Covered-In-My-Ba…).
• The 30-day waiting period is exempted, so that effected residents will receive coverage immediately.
• The program cannot drop you in an event of a flood.
• Mud-slides that occur from burn-scar are included, but not general landslides. (Mudslides are caused by flooding, landslides are not).Kathy added that any resident seeking private insurance coverage instead of the FEMA program, or on top of the FEMA program, should ask these four main with their insurance agent:

4 things to look for in a private policy:
• When will the policy be effective?
• Can the policy drop you in the event of a claim?
• Does the policy cover mud-flow?
• How much is the deductible?

Kathy also said that Saratoga Springs residents effected by the burn scar should all be outside of the standard Special Flood Hazard area next to lakes and rivers. However, you can verify by following this link (www.msc.fema.gov) and typing your home address into the map search. If you are in a Special Hazard Area, ask your agent about the NFIP Special Hazard area policy.

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