More Than 20% of Claims Happen Out of High Risk Zones. Is it Time You Reconsider Flood Insurance?

With the recent near disaster at Lake Oroville last week in California, homeowners may want to reconsider purchasing flood insurance. Climate change, coupled with the aging infrastructure of dams and levees, has the occurrence of floods on the rise, even in areas that are not considered high risk. In the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash flooding.1 If you are like most homeowners, you don’t have coverage unless you are in high risk zone, where you are required to have flood insurance. What many don’t realize until after disaster hits, is that a standard home insurance policy does not cover flood damage and would leave you footing the hefty repair bills on your own.

Of the 188,000 people evacuated from downstream of Lake Oroville, the vast majority are not considered to live in a high risk zone. However, it is estimated that more than 20% of all flood insurance claims in the United States are filed by those not at high risk.

Water from damaged spillway at Oroville Dam, California

Water flowing over the damaged emergency spillway on Oroville Dam on Tuesday, February 14th. (Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle)

Residents of San Jose and several other communities are also feeling the effects as flash flooding continues. WPXI reports that authorities ordered thousands out of their homes overnight to seek higher ground as creeks and reservoirs overflowed and left other levees in the area under increased pressure.

Rescuers evacuate residents in chest deep water via boats

Rescue crews take out residents from a flooded neighborhood Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez)

It wasn’t all that long ago when Western and Central Pennsylvania were hit with heavy rains dumping upward of 7 inches, causing flooding in areas of Centre County last October, which flowed into hundreds of homes and even washed two houses away in the rushing water. Nearly 100 residents in Montorsville were told to evacuate during the rain storm as well due to a rising creek nearby. Emergency crews in Lycoming County resorted to the use of boats to rescue residents trapped in their homes and evacuate citizens throughout the night.

While crews work frantically to repair the damage at Lake Oroville, there are a number of other dams in need of maintenance across the United States, but repairs are costly and slow going. The crisis in California is a shocking reminder of how unpredictable disasters can be, but they are a warning of what could happen at any moment. If you are considering adding flood insurance, please feel free to call 724-929-2300 to discuss your specific concerns and needs with our friendly insurance experts and receive a free quote today.

1: FloodSmart.gov 2016 https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flood_facts.jsp

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