Living With Dams: Know the Risks

Dams are an essential part of a community’s infrastructure, and they exist in every U.S. state. They provide drinking water, power, flood control, recreation, and many other benefits to local economies. But if they fail, dams can pose significant flood risks to people and properties downstream — and many people are unaware. Local agents and community leaders are encouraged to use these resources to help their community understand their flood risks below dams and how flood insurance can keep residents financially protected.

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Talking Points

Use these key facts when talking about flood insurance to your clients.

  • Many communities in the United States are in the vicinity of at least one dam, and there are more than 84,000 dams across the country (as of 2010).
  • Properties located downstream from dams are at an increased risk of flooding.
  • Dam failure floods are almost always more sudden and violent than normal stream, river, or coastal floods.
  • Just one inch of floodwater in your home can cause up to $25,000 of damage.
  • Most homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
  • While federal disaster assistance may be available after flooding, it requires a Presidential declaration and often does not provide as much financial assistance as flood insurance.
  • You may only qualify for federal disaster assistance if you have and maintained flood insurance. Additionally, since second homes are not usually eligible for disaster assistance, flood insurance is the best way to protect this asset.