Reporting Jamie Yuccas
SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — The state wants this weekend’s wet weather to be a warning to home owners.
The Department of Commerce is asking people to look into getting flood insurance as winter heads into spring.
Flood damage is not covered under a standard insurance policy and agents say if you don’t inquire now, you could be left high and dry.
Already, the spring thaw is pooling on Shakopee streets.
“I’m building an ark pretty soon,” Shakopee resident Todd Hektner said. “I’m a little nervous, a little on edge, because you can see the (Minnesota) River right (in my backyard) and it can be rather interesting.”
The risk of flooding always goes up in the springtime when snow melts and river waters rise, but because we got so much snow in February and March, you’re asked to call insurance agents now.
“Ultimately there’s a point where it can be too late,” American Family Insurance Agent Bob Loonan said. “You don’t want to wait until water is coming into your yard.”
Loonan said homeowners have two options.
The national flood insurance program covers homes in floodplains, but even if you’re not living on a river, you might want to add coverage.
“If your lot is one of the lowest in the neighborhood, the water is coming your way,” Loonan said.
Any Minnesotan can add the sewer back up endorsement to their policy, one of the most common issues for homeowners with basements.
“The endorsement is probably going to cost $100 a year, flood insurance might be $800 a year for the same coverage,” Loonan said.
Both help with clean up and replacement costs to items damaged in a flood.
Talking to an agent can address your specific needs.
“This is a classic example of working with an agent rather than just online and trying to figure it all out yourself,” Loonan said.
Todd Hekner has a plan as a renter.
“I have some items in the basement that I probably this week will start moving around to get up off the ground,” says Hektner.
His landlord also thought ahead.
“We got flood insurance to cover the utilities in the basement,” says Landlord Walt Sweeney. “Figure it’s better to lay out $500 now, rather than $20,000 to replace everything again.”
If you go with flood insurance through the national program, it has a 30-day period after purchase before it becomes effective and you should add the sewer backup addition before the significant snow piles start to melt.
Both are reasons agents say now is the time to pick up the phone and check rates now.