With the approach of spring in Iowa comes the rising risk of flooding. Ken Bouma, with the Floodplain Program of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, say March is Flood Awareness Month and while the recent warm spell lessened the chances for flooding, Iowans still need to be prepared.
He says there’s a risk of flash flooding with any snowmelt and spring rains. Summer flooding he says, is “notoriously difficult to predict.” He says you should assess the risks, pay attention to the weather and stay safe. Bouma says if your property is at risk, consider buying flood insurance. He warns, there is usually a 30-day waiting period before it takes effect. Also, you need to make sure your community has signed up for the National Flood Insurance Program.
He says a community must agree to participate in the NFIP before the insurance becomes available as part of the disaster recovery process. A lot of people are under the assumption that if they’ve been through one flood, they can receive disaster recovery money, but he says there are “strings attached to that” which can get very complicated if you’re not prepared.
Bouma says the basic homeowner’s policy does not cover floods. Flood insurance is typically a second policy on your home or business which is separate from your main policy. He says the typical flood insurance policy costs about $765 per year in Iowa, but it’s worth it when you consider how much damage a little water in your home can do.
“Just a few inches can run around $8,000 damage to a house and that’s on the low end,” Bauma says. “The average flood claim is around $33,000, so it doesn’t take a lot of water to do a lot of damage.”
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic