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You need flood insurance: "Ice Jam" edition



as a space stop, but with ice

So you live in Wisconsin, far from hurricanes and storms in the ocean. You do not need flood insurance, right?

Error. The big thaw spread across the Midwest is a perfect lesson for why you actually need flood insurance.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in Lone Rock in Wisconsin, the temperatures rose 80 degrees for three days, from minus 39 to 41

. That type of temperature fluctuation is a recipe for floods.

Most obviously, melting ice and snow can swell rivers. But especially worried are "ice bags", which form when frozen rivers melt in large pieces of ice that can lodge together and block the river's flow. In the worst cases, these artificial ponds cause serious flooding in the area around the river.

This happened last year in Vermont and up in New York when a quick temple followed a deep freezing. In Swanton, Vermont, an ice stop on the Missisquoi River flooded a state highway over a mile and flooded several homes and forced many to evacuate.

Here are the bad news: standard household insurance does not cover flood damage . If you do not have flood insurance for your home, you are probably not covered by your homeowners or tenants, as flood risks were considered uninsured.

To deal with this lack of coverage, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been created back in the 1960s. NFIP is a federal program that provides flood insurance to participating communities. If your community participates in the program, you can often purchase insurance through a private insurer that manages policies and claims on behalf of NFIP.

Private insurance companies have also recently begun to offer flood insurance outside the NFIP, as new modeling techniques have

Flood insurance will usually cover physical losses in your home caused by floods or flood-related events, such as erosion – with some limitations (trees and fences are not covered, in order to get better management of risks and costs. You can also purchase coverage for the contents of your home, making flood insurance an important tool to help you get back on your feet.

Make sure you talk to your insurance agent about the right flood policy for you. Yes, even you Wisconsinites out there.


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