Who needs flood insurance? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Who needs flood insurance?

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) -  As North Georgians await word on whether President Obama will declare a federal disaster, people are returning to their flooded homes.

With so many of them without flood insurance, they're now faced with tough decisions--  rebuild or tear down. Most of those Atlanta flood victims don't have flood insurance.

It's a dreadful scenario many of you know all too well after thousands of homes and businesses were washed away in 1994 and 1998.

Insurance agents say there are two key things to remember when it comes to flooding.

The first thing is flood damage is not covered by your homeowner's policy. You must buy a separate policy through the National Flood Program. And flash flooding is unpredictable. It can happen to you, even if you aren't on a flood plain.

It's a reality one Newton couple will never forget.

Tommy and Jackie Rouse say the flood of '94 is still as vivid in their minds today as it was 15 years ago.   "You never forget. You compare events before the flood and after the flood," said Jackie Rouse.

As the couple watched raging flood waters swallow Atlanta neighborhoods this week, most of the residents without flood insurance, they were reminded of their own hardships. "We didn't have flood insurance in 94, we never thought it would happen here."

But it did. Newton, the town they loved, was completely submerged in water.

"Water was everywhere. It was 5 1/2 feet in the house. We lived in our church for two weeks with 13 members of the family--  one bath, wall to wall mattresses." Rouse said.

Something they never expected. As we found in 94 and 98. Floodwater can go anywhere. So anybody can be susceptible to floods.

The house behind me is a perfect example of that. It didn't flood in 94 or 98. But in the spring it did, and as you can see they are still making repairs.

That's why insurance agents advise everyone to look into purchasing flood insurance...a separate policy that's NOT covered by homeowners insurance.

"You my find out you're not in a high risk area, so you may qualify for preferred risk flood policy, which is very economical,"  said Insurance Sales Rep. Lydia Livingston.

Talking from experience, the Rouse's advise considering not what a policy costs, but what it will cost-- if you lose your home, and everything in it. 

Flood insurance cost depends on your location, are you in a flood zone, if so is it a 100 year zone or a 500 year flood zone?

Insurance agents say whenever flooding occurs even as far away as Atlanta, they get a lot of calls from people who want to purchase flood insurance.

You can't purchase flood insurance if you know potential flooding is coming. There's a 30 day waiting period.

Agents tell us even after the Floods of '94 and '98, most Albany homeowners don't have flood insurance unless it's required of them.

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