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March 27, 2019

Spring flooding season prompts flood insurance warning

Photo / Maureen Milliken The Kennebec River, seen here between Waterville and Winslow Tuesday afternoon, is mostly ice-free, but melting snow pack could still cause flooding this spring.

Maine Bureau of Insurance is encouraging those who live within or near high-risk flood zones to sign up for flood coverage.

"As we once again welcome spring in Maine, along with snowmelt and saturated ground, it’s a good time to consider flood insurance," said Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa. "It's important to realize that there is a 30-day waiting period after purchasing flood coverage before the policy takes effect, so people need to act well in advance of the threat."

The bureau stated in a news release that a number of weather events in recent years have demonstrated that those living in mapped, high-risk flood zones are not the only ones at risk of experiencing costly property loss from floods. In fact, more than 20% of flood insurance claims come from outside of high-risk areas, the bureau stated.

While a homeowner’s or renter’s policy may pay for water damage inside a house, such as from an ice dam or a burst pipe, it will usually not pay for unusual or rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters, such as those caused by snowmelt or torrential, soaking rain, the bureau stated.

“While mortgage lenders generally require homes in flood zones to have flood coverage, it’s usually an optional purchase for all others,” the bureau stated. “Many people assume incorrectly that their basic homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damage from flooding, but flood coverage must almost always be purchased separately.”

Tips on being prepared

Here are some tips provided by the bureau:

  • Flood insurance: Details are available from the National Flood Insurance Program by calling 1-800-427-4661 or online at
  • Inventory checklist: A checklist can be helpful in establishing an insurance claim. Start one online here and keep a hard copy in a secure location away from your home, with insurance policies, medical records, and other important documents.
  • Emergency preparedness: For information about preparing yourself and family for emergency situations, such as floods, storms, power outages and home fires, go online here The Maine Emergency Management Agency provides Maine specific information at

The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.

Consumers can reach the bureau at, by calling 800-300-5000 or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.

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