Published: Fri, September 08, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Do you have flood insurance?

Do you have flood insurance?

In a 419-3 vote, the House of Representatives has authorized nearly $8 billion in aid for Hurricane Harvey victims.

Florida's overall flood insurance rate for hazard-zone homes is just 41 percent.

The trend is also seen nationwide.

People should also gather their insurance information and make sure they have the correct phone numbers to be able to file a claim. In fact, the number of policy holders have declined. Average annual premiums range from about $4,200 in Horseshoe Beach, a town of 169 residents on the Gulf Coast where 78 percent of policies have been dropped since 2012, down to about $200 in several cities.

"Harvey is a stark reminder that you don't have to live along a river, you don't have to live along a stream or the Atlantic Ocean to be at risk for flooding. Literally, we learn it every year", said Maryland's Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr.

Flood insurance is backed by the government's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and is sold by special brokers who are frequently not the same as your homeowner's insurance broker.

"Not everyone understands the need for a separate flood policy", said LaHue.

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"The only way to address that insured risk is to have the private market participate", Jay Neal, head of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform, told Reuters. "And I was a victim of flooding myself in 2003 with Hurricane Isabel and fortunately, I had flood insurance". He says it works for consumers but it's a flawed program.

"As we've seen with Houston, you don't even have to be in a flood zone to get serious damage", Adams said.

FEMA, which is ultimately responsible for enforcing flood insurance requirements, did not respond to an email seeking comment from its Washington office on Wednesday.

So as long as it stays afloat, it's an option for those wanting to protect themselves from financial ruin following the next natural disaster.

The order would have changed the way that developers build around flood plains and prevented them from using imperfect flood maps to consider lines at the edges of flood plains as definite and instead as a place of caution, expanding the areas near flood plains where building should not occur. "In Houston, there were large areas flooded that were never flooded before", Boland said.

Hurricane peak season is in October and any plan typically takes 30 days to take effect.

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