Behind Your Flood Policy

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

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.

More from Edgar Linares
  • Stace

    One thing not stated in this story that is VERY IMPORTANT to note: If you are the sole victim of a flooded area – e.g. you live on the corner and the ditch backs up and
    you are the only one in the neighborhood affected, your flood insurance will not pay out. The FEMA guidelines state specifically that two homes must have the issue before the NFIP will pay out.
    Talk to your insurance agent.

    • married to the truth

      Thank you for the tip! That is another reason NOT to get it. So basicaly you buy coverage. $3000. You move all of your “valueables” out of the basement. Flooding takes place. You make a claim. $1000 deductable. Insurance company comes out and says no no ye no yes yes no no. You have $6000 in damage and only $3400 covered. That is how it works with insurance. Its the biggest scam ever invented. I say roll the dice and play smart.

      • central minnesota

        I have to agree with you “married to the truth” We have been flooded three times, 1997, 2007, 2009. We have a bank loan against our house. The bank said flood insurance. Nothing was covered. What a waist of money.

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  • Seen it first hand

    Talk to anyone who has had to make a claim against their flood insurance. When it is time to make a claim, the adjusters are complete jerks and lowball the homeowner on everything. The coverage is expensive, the coverage sucks, and the adjusters seem to be hell-bent on not paying anything out.

  • Milorad Paunovic

    Anybody with a positive comment or “good” experience with flood insurance. What do people in Delano, Watertown, Moorhead, Fargo or Minnesota and Vermillion River Valley have to say about flood insurance?

    • Seen it first hand

      I was in the Stockton flood. Flood insurance was NOT a good experience.

  • Huh?

    What a wierd way to start the article. How many lakes cause flood damage?

    • central minnesota

      None, it is mostly the rivers.

  • upnorth

    the federal or state goverment should not pay for any flood damage that happens with in the 100 year flood plain – what a waste of tax payers money. let it all be local or private.

    • cental minnesota

      @upnorth This 100 year flood is turning into an every year flood. Then what?

  • Tom

    Make flood insurance a standard part of homeowners insurance and let the market decide the rates. I bought on high ground so insurance companies probably rate my structure higher for wind damage and adjust my rate accordingly. If you buy a house with a beautiful view of the river and you should expect to pay accord to the chance of flooding.
    Does anybody know if tax money is subsidizing part of flood insurance?

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