MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the land of 10,000 lakes, it’s surprising to hear that less than one percent of Minnesotans purchase flood insurance.
“Minnesota has one the fewest take up rates in the country,” said Mark Kulda, vice president of public affairs for the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.
The National Weather Service issued its spring flood forecast on Thursday showing flooding could climb into the top five in Stillwater, St. Paul and Jordan.
That has insurance officials telling the public to take action right away.
After purchasing flood insurance there’s a 30-day waiting period between the time you buy insurance and when it takes effect. By waiting, you’re inching closer to the spring meltdown.
“Fewer than one percent of Minnesotans have flood insurance policies. Last year at this time, there were only 9,000 policies in a state that has over a million homes. It’s sad to see that, even though we know we live in a high risk area.”
You may not know:
- To qualify for flood insurance the flooding in your home must be caused by overland flooding, such as overflow from a river.
- “The number one myth about flood insurance is you can’t buy flood insurance unless you live in the floodplain,” said Kulda. He says that’s not true. The only requirement to buy insurance is that your community participates in the flood insurance program. He says about 85 percent of Minnesota communities participate.
- A regular homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover flooding. “A lot of people are misinformed about it. They think, ‘Well, I have insurance I should be covered.’ And many times people don’t read their policies,” said Kulda.
- And, flood insurance programs are federally run through FEMA. “You have to buy the flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered through FEMA,” said Kulda.Kulda recommends talking to your insurance agent and looking at a floodplain map. FEMA’s average policy in Minnesota is around $700 a year, but if you live in a high hazard area you could pay anywhere between $2,000 to $4,000 a year.
There are two types of coverage offered: building property and personal property.
“There are hard limits on the amount of coverage you can buy. The most coverage you can buy is $250,000 to replace your dwelling and $100,000 to replace your contents,” said Kulda.
Kulda says even if you don’t live in a high hazard area you should consider buying flood insurance. He says 25 percent of all flood insurance claims are from people who don’t live in the high hazard areas.
What will my flood insurance cover and not cover?
- It will cover things that make a home livable, like a furnace or hot water heater. It will also pay for damage to the structural elements of a home.
- A typical flood insurance policy does not cover your basement because those are usually the hardest hit. It won’t pay for home improvements like carpeting or paneling in your basement.
- A typical flood insurance policy does not cover basic furnishings like a couch or television. “If a flood is coming and they know it’s coming, people should take those things out of their basements anyways,” said Kulda.
Kulda says after the flood waters leave, it’s important to start cleaning up because that can lead to mold and more damage to your home.