Harvey Raises Questions about Flood Preparedness

Staff Report

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sept. 6, 2017) – While historic rains, like those that came with Hurricane Harvey, are rare, floods remain the number one disaster in the United States and occur in all 50 states. Even those that don’t live in a flood plain should plan ahead and be prepared for flooding.

Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage, according to FEMA, but floods can bring waves of water many feet high. Houston residents experienced this first-hand. With only about 15 percent of Houston area homes covered by active flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), many are left to pay the high cost to rebuild.

“Floods don’t always start with a major storm,” said Edward Conley, regional insurance manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency. “Just this July, communities like Pataskala and London were impacted by steady rains with six inches of rain falling in a 24-hour period. That event caused major damage to homes, vehicles and businesses.”

The right insurance can help save homeowners thousands of dollars in the event of a flood, but it’s important to understand which type of insurance is needed to cover various types of flood damage. AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency offers the following tips:

  • Flood Insurance: Federal law requires flood insurance for federally financed loans for those who live in high-risk flood zones. Lenders may also require flood insurance for moderate risk zones. Unless it’s due to the new purchase of a home, there is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to provide coverage so you must plan ahead. If you wait until the storm is on the way, you’ve likely waited too long.
  • Homeowners Insurance: Flooding can also occur due to clogged drains or pipes, sewer backup or sump pump failure. Flood insurance does not typically cover sewer backup or sump pump failure. In these cases, homeowners insurance can help cover the costs. Often this coverage is added to the policy as an endorsement.
  • Comprehensive Auto Insurance: A comprehensive auto insurance policy is needed to cover the costs of a vehicle damaged by flood waters.
  • Home Inventory: An up-to-date home inventory can help flood victims get their insurance claim settled faster. It also helps people purchase the right amount of insurance, so they’re protected from loss. The most effective way to take inventory of a home is to shoot video of the entire home.

More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside of flood plains, according to FEMA. The NFIP can help homeowners determine their flood risk and help them learn about safeguarding their property. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov.


Staff Report