It’s been an exhausting winter. From shoveling and mopping up ceiling leaks to avoiding the ice, it’s no wonder we’re all looking forward to spring.

But the warmer weather may bring a new challenge. We could be in for floods. According to Mary Dowd of Daigle & Travers Insurance Agency in Darien, “Everyone lives in a flood zone. Water rises from the ground.” Mary goes on to say that “if you have a mortgage, most banks have the right to force you to buy flood insurance.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is urging homeowners to plan ahead to protect and insure their property from potentially damaging floods once the record snowpack begins to melt. Homeowners, renters and businesses who are considering taking out federal flood insurance must realize that there is a 30-day waiting period from time of purchase before the policy goes into effect.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flood insurance covers direct physical loss caused by “flood.” The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines a flood as “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties [at least one of which is your property].” This could be caused by an overflow of inland or tidal waters. Or from an unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source. So watch out for overflowing rivers and ponds, and for floods caused by melting snow.

Here are some quick facts about flood insurance:

* You don’t need to live near water to be flooded.

* Homes can be insured for up to $250,000 for the building, $100,000 for the contents.

* Renters can buy flood insurance for the contents of their home or apartment.

* There are coverage limitations for basements and crawl spaces.

* Flood insurance pays for covered flood losses even if a federal disaster is not declared.

Mary Dowd has flood insurance on two condominiums she owns. “It’s not an expensive policy,” she says. “The FEMA policy costs $395.” And that’s probably a lot less than cleaning up after a flood might cost. If you want to talk to Mary, give her a call at .

Do you have flood insurance on your home?