WASHINGTON — If you think your homeowner’s insurance covers flooding, think again. As snow melts, rain falls, and rivers rise, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reminds Iowans to learn about flood insurance and buy appropriate coverage.
David Maurstad heads FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and says only about 30-percent of properties located in high-risk areas are covered, and only four-percent outside those areas. “Maybe 2012 or so, there was another pretty significant flooding event in Iowa and the number of people covered was about 12% in the effected areas,” Maurstad says. “We have a lot of work to do in making sure people understand that flood insurance is their first line of defense to recover from flooding events.”
Damage to buildings and their contents is covered if the high water is caused by rain or rising lakes or rivers. Maurstad says the policies are affordable, averaging less than 500-dollars a year in locations that are not flood-prone. “An inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage,” Maurstad says. “We’re trying to encourage people when they renew their homeowner policy that they consider flood insurance. They need to get that flood insurance, they need to not wait. We have to do a better job of encouraging renters to have flood insurance. They can be as negatively impacted as whoever owns the building.”
Be advised, after buying flood insurance, there’s a 30-day waiting period before it goes into effect. More information is available at floodsmart.gov.