When a wildfire burns vegetation in an area, it can take several years for the area to return to normal.
Vegetation, including grasses, bushes, and trees, all play a part in keeping the soil in one place. Roots push down into the dirt and spread out to keep the ground stable. Leaves and grasses also slow the flow of water, giving it more time to soak into the ground or evaporate.
When a fire burns that vegetation, there’s nothing to keep the ground in place or keep the water from rushing. Rains and snowmelt after a burn can easily turn into a flood or mudslide and can damage property in the days, months, and years after a fire.
Flood insurance can provide valuable peace of mind for people living downhill from a burnscar. It’s important to know your options and limits of the coverage you’re shopping for.
Most flood policies will cover the structure and contents of your home on the level that waters enter your home. If you live in a single-floor or multi-floor above-ground dwelling, that’s often enough.
If you have a home with a basement, you may be better off considering a difference in conditions policy. A difference in conditions policy offers combined coverage for events like flood, mudslides, earthquakes, and other similar perils.
Most flood policies have a 30-day wait period, which means that your policy becomes effective 30 days after you purchase it. It’s a good idea to reconsider your risk of flooding early every year.
Talk to your insurance agent about your flood coverage options. If you don’t have an agent, you can find one using our Licensee Search tool.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is another way for Utahns to find insurance coverage.
Your insurance agent is also equipped to get you covered by an NFIP policy.
More information about NFIP flood insurance is available at https://www.floodsmart.gov/, or you can call Angelia Crowther, the state’s floodplain manager, at 801-664-5861 if you have questions.