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For Idahoans who need flood insurance, this federal program could be a lifeline


Many parts of the South are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence. Though Idaho is hundreds miles from the ocean and has never felt the impact of a hurricane, we know firsthand the damage that can be done by floods. Many cities, such as Boise, Twin Falls, Weiser and Hailey, are still picking up the pieces after spring floods in 2017 damaged houses and washed away bridges and roads. Some Idahoans were left scrambling. That’s because standard home insurance policies typically don’t cover flood damage.

“However, approximately 30 percent of all real estate contracts written in Idaho require flood insurance, so it’s critical to our economy as well as the national economy that flood insurance is available to property owners,” said Gary Salisbury, president of the Boise Regional REALTORS®. One way homeowners have been able to buy flood insurance in Idaho is through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

How the NFIP helps Idahoans get flood insurance

The program allows property owners in participating communities to buy flood insurance to protect their home, business, or property. It’s designed to be used as an alternative to disaster assistance. It’s also intended to reduce the amount of federal money spent to repair damaged buildings and their contents because of floods. The NFIP is the primary source for flood insurance coverage for property owners in the United States, with more than 23,000 participating communities in 56 states and jurisdictions. The program has more 5 million flood insurance policies, totaling over $1.28 trillion in coverage.

This past summer, with just hours until the program expired, Congress approved an extension of the NFIP. The Boise Regional REALTORS expressed its support for the lawmakers’ decision.

“We’re proud of our partnership with the (National Association of REALTORS) to advocate for this program that allows Idaho homeowners to purchase affordable, federally backed flood insurance to protect what may be their largest and most important investment — their home,” said Salisbury.

Congress has allowed the program to lapse on four occasions. In past lapses, borrowers were not able to get flood insurance to close, renew, or increase loans on some flood-prone properties until the program was renewed.

The current program will again have to be renewed or reformed by Nov. 30, 2018. If you would like to learn more about the NFIRP and whether it might be a good fit for you, click here.