Who Is Affected By Inland Flooding?

Flooding is a global problem that affects people in many ways. With a clear understanding of who is affected by flooding, you can take the right steps to protect against it.

In the United States, flooding is the costliest and most damaging natural disaster. The World Health Organization (WHO) points out people most vulnerable to floods live in a floodplain or a building that is not resistant to flooding and/or are unaware of or lack warning systems to notify them about nearby flood hazards. 

How many people are affected by flooding?

Flood risk is a “near universal threat,” according to the World Bank. Approximately 1.47 billion people globally are “directly exposed to the risk of intense flooding. In the United States, every year, tens of thousands of people are forced from their homes as a result of a flood.

Download the California Megaflood Preparedness PDF

How does flooding affect people? 

1. Property damage

Floods destroy homes, cars, and other personal property; erode soil; and eliminate crops and drainage systems. In addition, flood waters can contain sharp glass or metals that damage property.

2. Financial Issues

Not all flood damage is universally covered by insurance companies. Without sufficient insurance coverage, flood victims may not be able to recover their homes, cars, and other personal property, or pay for additional living expenses while repairs are made.  

3. Emotional Issues

Flood victims can experience anxiety, depression, and stress that may be made worse when home and valuables are not properly insured. They may require support from mental health counselors and other professionals to manage their emotions after a flood.

Which states are most vulnerable to flooding?

While there are areas of the country that experience more flooding than others, residents of every state should be aware of the risks as much of the land area in the United States is at risk of flooding. By some estimates, millions of people could be directly affected by floods at any time and living in a certain state does not make flood insurance unnecessary. Simply put, all property owners should consider the important protection that flood insurance provides.

What is considered a “high-risk” area for flooding?

FEMA notes any area with a 1% or higher chance of experiencing a flood each year is considered to have a high risk. In these areas, there is a 25% chance of flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage. Additionally, there are many properties outside of FEMA’s Special Flood Hazard Area at high risk of flooding.

What are the best ways to limit the impact of flooding?

1. Know the risks of floods

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center shows the risk of flooding where you live. This gives you a good idea about the types of risks of flooding near your home. However, you should also consult other tools such as Flood Factor that can provide risk information from environmental factors such as flooding.

2. Prepare for the worst-case scenario

Create a plan so you and your family know exactly what to do if a flood occurs. As part of your planning for floods, you can:

  • Learn and practice flood evacuation routes.
  • Gather non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, water, and other emergency supplies.
  • Put all of your important documents into a waterproof container and create password-protected digital copies of them.

3. Buy Flood Insurance

Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flooding, making standalone flood insurance of vital importance in protecting your home and personal property. Purchase sufficient flood coverage to rebuild your home in the event of a catastrophic flood, and make sure to renew your coverage annually.

Can you avoid the effects of flooding?

You cannot stop flooding, but you can limit its impact. Consider the following flood mitigation opportunities:

  1. Elevate your property
  2. Flood Vents
  3. Flood Walls/Sandbags
  4. Leverage flood mitigation grants available for use

Be proactive, and you can protect against floods and their short- and long-term ramifications.

Palomar is a leading provider of customized specialty insurance solutions. We offer industry-leading flood insurance policies tailored to your needs. To learn more, please contact us today.

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