Feb. 22--MANKATO -- The National Weather Service is predicting an elevated threat for spring flooding in south-central Minnesota. With water-filled soil, a decent snowpack and already high rivers and lakes, the NWS is warning the flood risk will be high.
Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. And people who want a flood insurance policy must purchase it at least 30 days before it becomes effective.
John Mayberry, of State Farm Insurance in Mankato, said there has been more interest in flood insurance in recent years as more frequent flooding has occurred.
"We've been selling more. We had seven or eight calls in one day recently."
Unlike other insurance types that you can cancel at any time, flood policies have to be kept for one year with a few exceptions, such as if you sell your home.
Premiums are based on the specific flood zone where the property is located, usually based on elevation. People do not need to live or work in a flood plain or on the banks of a river to be at risk.
People can call an insurance agent licensed to sell flood insurance and they can plug their address in and find out what flood risk zone their property is in.
Commercial properties require flood insurance to protect their mortgage. Commercial property owners can buy up to $500,000 in coverage through the federal program and get additional coverage on the secondary market.
Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley said in a press release that of the roughly 2 million households in Minnesota, only 11,000 buy flood coverage. In response, the department is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, insurance carriers and local officials statewide to spread the word about flood insurance.
Flood insurance is available through the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program and can be purchased through many licensed property insurance agents. Policies may be purchased for a building or its contents. The program also offers flood insurance for renters and businesses.
According to FEMA, the average starting cost for an annual flood insurance policy is $500 per year. In contrast, 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage.
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