Disaster Assistance & Flood Insurance Information - Updated May 1 @ 6:30 pm

Most private insurers do not write flood insurance policies and so flood damage is not included in typical homeowners' policies. Instead private insurers work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to administer the National Flood Insurance Program.

Flood insurance is required for residents and business owners who live or work in a Special Flood Hazard Area, if they have a loan from a federally regulated mortgage lender.  Those who live outside a Special Flood Hazard Area may, but are not required to, purchase flood insurance.  Individuals should contact the National Flood Insurance Program to determine if their location is in flood hazard area and to find a local agent.

Insurance Coverage Limitations
The federal flood insurance program only provides coverage up to $250,000 for the structure of a home and up to $100,000 for the contents of the home.  For commercial properties, it provides coverage up to $500,000 for buildings and $500,000 for contents.  The policies for the building and contents are separate and deductibles vary by policy.

Most flood policies do not cover temporary relocation costs or damage to a basement other than to the heating, air conditioning and water systems.  Examples of coverage under the building property coverage include the building and its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, water heaters, appliances, carpeting, permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases and cabinets, blinds, detached garages and debris removal.

The contents coverage may include personal belongings, curtains, portable and window air conditioners, portable dishwashers and microwaves, washers and dryers, food freezers and food and certain valuables.

In cases where a sewer or sump-pump backs up due to flooding, some homeowner policies may contain endorsements covering the damage. In these cases, it is important to consult your homeowner’s policy and insurance agent to determine coverage. In addition, specific items damaged by flooding may be covered by a personal articles policy if the insured has obtained such a policy. In all cases, an insured should consult their insurance policies and agents for specific information.

Disaster Assistance 
Disaster assistance may also be available to those with flood damage.

Unlike flood insurance, disaster assistance is a loan from the federal government that must be repaid with interest.  Disaster assistance is only available to areas where the President has declared a federal disaster.  Governor Quinn has declared 44 counties in Illinois as State disaster areas. These counties are now eligible for assistance from State agencies including Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Central Management Services (CMS) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

To be declared a federal disaster area, the State must show $17.2 million worth of damage.  Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is working with federal damage assessors to begin the damage assessment process.  Damages will be assessed in DuPage, Cook and Lake County beginning next week.  IEMA believes that once damage assessments for those three counties are complete, the amount of damage will be enough to ask for a state-wide federal disaster declaration.

Currently, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is directing individuals to contact their local county emergency management system for damage assessments.  IEMA encourages all individuals to document all costs and keep all receipts associated with flooding.

Individual Assistance Programs
Individual Assistance Programs include grant programs administered by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a loan program administered by the Small Business Administration. These programs provide assistance to individuals, families, homeowners, renters, and businesses. If these programs are included in a presidential declaration, the public will be notified of the declaration through the local media. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) - Apply for Assistance web page provides detailed information on the Individual Assistance Programs.

FEMA Public Assistance Program
In the event of a Federal Declaration, The Public Assistance Program makes grants available to state agencies, local government organizations, and certain private non-profit organizations that incurred costs or damage as a result of the disaster. Units of government and eligible private non-profit organizations within the area declared a disaster will be contacted by state and local officials so that they may apply for grants. Detailed information on the Public Assistance Program may be found on the web atFederal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Public Assistance Program and Illinois Emergency Management Agency - Eligibility Information.

Other Flood Information and Resources: 
Individuals with National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or write your own (WYO) policies, may contact the NFIP at 888-379-9531.

Individuals with a form of “back up of sewer and sump pump coverage”, should contact their local insurance providers.

Illinois Department of Insurance is available at (866) 445-5364 or (217) 557-6954 to answer flood related questions.