The onrush of floodwaters that threatened to swamp South End homeowners translated into a last-minute flurry of inquiries on the potential of writing insurance policies before the damage arrived.
Dana Oerman, Shelter Insurance agent at 6412 King Hill Ave., told News-Press NOW she had to inform those seeking to protect their homes just prior to the flood that their timing was unfortunately off, resulting in some disappointed and heartbroken reactions. That's due to a provision of the National Flood Insurance Program that prevents coverage under its auspices from kicking in until 30 days from the purchase date, according to the consumer research think tank NerdWallet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency does have exceptions to the waiting period, such as those with private policies.
"My phone rang off the hook," Oerman said. "I've seen more (inquiries) this go-around than in 2011."
Those purchasing a home should check to determine if the previous owner had a flood claim and ensured that the repairs were completed prior to the transaction.
"Flood insurance goes by location, not who owns it," Oerman added. "You could have problems filing a claim."
Rick Bolton, Farmers Insurance agent at 303 Illinois Ave., also acknowledged a need to explain the 30-day waiting period on policy purchases to those who had heard of the threat of floods for the South End and became understandably nervous for safeguarding their property.
"We have not had any claims turned in," said Bolton. "We probably had 10 people call us for flood quotes.
"We had the same situation (eight years ago,)" he added.
Like Oerman, Bolton recommended homeowners procure insurance if they reside in a high-risk zone susceptible to flooding. Yet some cheaper rates can be found for those in the Lake Contrary area, he said.
Preferred rates can range from $300 to $500 annually, Bolton said.
Both agents said the majority of basic home policies also cover damage inflicted by tornadoes or high winds, and counseled meetings with the agent to ensure the applicability.
Midwest states such as Missouri, located in the path of the famed Tornado Alley, are seeing increases in home coverage premiums, based on a recently-released report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners covering 2016. Missouri ranked seventh in the compilation, with a 76 percent increase since 2007.
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