DENTON, Texas -- Despite being the nation’s number one natural disaster, statistics continue to show that most people ignore the risks associated with flooding and do not buy flood insurance.
Out of two million Louisiana households and businesses, only half a million have purchased flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). That’s only 25 percent. Meanwhile, reports show that in the last 12 years, Louisiana has received 14 major disaster declarations that involved flooding.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Denton, Texas, the regional office that oversees Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, point to several reasons for a lack of participation in NFIP.
“Many people assume that their homeowners’ insurance covers floods, but it usually doesn’t,” said FEMA Region 6 Regional Administrator Tony Russell. “Others think that if they don’t live in a flood zone then they don’t have to buy flood insurance or simply can’t because it’s not offered; both assumptions are inaccurate.”
- Myth: Only homeowners can purchase flood insurance.
The truth is anyone in NFIP-participating communities can purchase flood insurance, including business owners, and business and residential renters.
- Myth: People can't buy flood insurance if they are located in a high flood risk area.
Anyone can buy flood insurance no matter where they live, as long as the community participates in the NFIP.
- Myth: People can't buy flood insurance if their property has been flooded before.
People are eligible to purchase a flood insurance policy after a flood, as long as the community is participating in the NFIP.
- Myth: People can't buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood.
You can purchase flood insurance any time. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before the policy is effective.
In an effort to bridge the gap that exists between the high rate of flooding events and the low percentage of flood insurance policies, FEMA is urging Louisianans to buy flood insurance now before the next flood hits. For more information on flooding and flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.