Time to act now for flood insurance

May 2, 2012 3:40:16 PM PDT
It's been a while since we had enough rain in our area to cause major problems, but even so, it's time to talk about flood insurance. That's because we are just 30 days away from hurricane season and the potential for devastating storms.

But that's not the only reason to act now. It takes 30 days to get flood insurance, so waiting can be the difference in having it and wanting it.

But there is another wrinkle -- the program needs to be funded by Congress and the deadline for that to happen is also fast approaching.

In January severe storms were enough to cause flooding along Griggs Road. The high water cut off school kids from their parents and soaked a boarding house. The area is more than a mile from Brays Bayou and a reminder about the need for flood insurance.

Heather Saucier with the Harris County Flood Control District explained, "It's the smartest thing anybody can do, whether or not they live in a mapped flood plain, because we are at risk of flooding here."

Saucier says having flood insurance is much cheaper than repairing a home after a disaster.

"If you took out a $50,000 loan to repair your damages at a four percent interest rate, that would cost you $240 a month for the next 30 years to repay," she said.

By contrast, insurance agent Scott West says for those living outside a flood zone, the insurance is not very expensive.

"If you are not in a flood zone you might pay $250 a year," West said.

Now is a good time to get the coverage because hurricane season is just 30 days away and it takes that long for a policy to become active. But there is another reason to act now. Congress must reauthorize the flood insurance program by May 31, or home owners will not be able to sign up for the coverage, or renew even renew policies.

West advised, "If you have a renewal right now in hand from your flood insurance program that says send a check in, go ahead and put that check in the mail with the bill and send it off today."

In the past Congress has always extended the flood insurance program, but it has lapsed before, so if you want the coverage, take action now.

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