With record snow pack on the ground and even more moisture predicted for Spring, the threat of flooding once again looms over North Dakota.
There’s nothing unusual about that. The state has been hit with a nationally declared flood disaster almost every year since 1989 – eight of them in the past 10 years. And twelve years ago, during the great flood of 1997, more than 60,000 people had to leave their homes for safety.
So what can individuals and families do to prepare? They can buy flood insurance.
And since there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy can take effect, it’s important to get flood insurance right away. When the snow melts and the rains come, it may be too late to file a flood insurance claim.
The average cost of flood insurance in North Dakota is only about $620 a year – less than $2 a day for financial protection from what could be devastating effects of a flood in a home or business.
“In the past several years, North Dakotans have worked hard on construction projects to make their communities much less vulnerable to floods,” said FEMA Region VIII Mitigation Division Director Jeanine Peterson. “But as Gov. Hoeven pointed out last week, it’s still vital for families and businesses to assess their flood risks, and seriously consider getting flood insurance.”
Flood insurance benefits can far exceed what is available through federal disaster assistance. The most prevalent form of assistance comes in the form of a low-interest loan and is only made available within a federally declared disaster area. In addition, a disaster assistance payment averages $4,000 - often well short of the actual damage.
There are many myths surrounding flood insurance. For instance, many people assume that homeowner’s or business-owner’s insurance covers flood damage – it does not. Many believe that a property must be in a Special Flood Hazard Area or a “floodplain” to be eligible for coverage – not true. In fact, 20 to 25 percent of all claims come from floods that happened in low or moderate flood-risk areas.
Find out more about your risk and flood insurance at www.floodsmart.gov. To purchase flood insurance or find an agent, call 1-800-427-2419.