Very Few Texans Are Insured For Flash Flooding

Areas of Texas and especially areas around Houston were hammered by unprecedented rainfall over the past week.  State officials declared emergencies in 32 counties surrounding the Greater Houston Area, flooding hundreds of homes due to overflowing water.

However, insurance experts suspect that many people affected by the floods do not have valid flood insurance plans.  Even more alarming is that the rate of protected homeowners declined in recent years, and the content within existing policies may be insufficient.

Mark Hanna is a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas, which oversees up to 500 insurance firms across the state.  According to Hanna, hundreds of Texans will be forced to pay for damages out of their own pockets.

“I think less than half of the homeowners affected had flood insurance.”

The Insurance Information Institute conducts several studies each year to identify the rate of insured homes across the country, and what terms are included within those policies.  The III’s most recent study found that only 10 percent of home and business owners have valid flood insurance plans attached to their properties, down from 14 percent three years ago.

While the rate of insured homes in Texas is greater than the national average, experts say many people will find themselves struggling to recover from the powerful floods.  Homeowners who live on parcels of land not located within an identified flood plain may forego flood insurance without accounting for torrential rainfall, which can cause nearby bodies of water to overflow.

Hanna and his associates believe that people incorrectly assume that officials in Washington will declare federal disaster emergencies for cases of severe flooding, such as the storms from Hurricane Sandy that devastated the northeast.  But if disasters are never declared, federal aid is generally withheld.

This means that homeowners and their insurers must pay for the damages without government assistance.  The responsibility falls solely on the homeowner without flood protection included on a standard home insurance plan.

Insurance experts remind homeowners that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the US, but protection from those disasters is excluded without the proper plan.  As the summer season gets underway, homeowners in Texas and elsewhere should actively review their insurance policies, and ensure the most important possessions are protected in case of the worst.

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