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It might be time to think about flood insurance

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Heavy snowfall has already blanketed parts of the Upper Midwest, which is prompting the concern for spring flooding and a state-wide push for the discussion of flood insurance.

Without flood insurance, most residents have to pay out of pocket or take out loans to repair damaged property. With these types of events impacting the region year after year, experts are concerned that not enough people are properly covered.

"When you get flood insurance, you get an extra sense of security," says La Crosse Co. Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Rindy.

With spring snowmelt and potentially extreme rainfall around the corner, experts say that now is a great time to consider getting or renewing flood insurance.

Environmental Planner for the City of La Crosse Lewis Kuhlman says that those outside the floodplain are still at risk. "We definitely recommend people in the floodplain have flood insurance. People outside of the floodplain can get flood insurance as well, as it's considerably less expensive," said Kuhlman. "It's still advised and we have seen that the waters don't stop at the floodplain boundaries."

Boundaries that can quickly break you emotionally and financially.

"When you're inundated with a lot of water, you can't get rid of it. That is one of the problems. It only takes an inch of water to ruin things," said Rindy. "Once things get sopping wet, it turns to mold and then you have to throw it out."

FEMA notes that just one inch of water can do over $25,000 in damage. Without flood insurance, relief after a disaster can take quite some time.

"People sort of expect FEMA to come in and help everybody, but they only have so many resources. So for the folks that do have insurance they'll help you out. They won't make you completely whole but they'll help you out," said Kuhlman. "For people that don't have flood insurance you don't get as much money and a much longer waiting time."

It's also important to note that your typical homeowners insurance often times does not cover flooding.

If you are interested in talking to your insurance agent, experts recommend doing it now. Flood insurance can often times take up to 30 days to go into effect.

The City of La Crosse also has ongoing flood mitigation efforts. This includes grants for property improvements for those living in a floodplain. Things as structural elevation are part of the City's long term goal to bring properties into compliance.

FEMA has detailed flood maps to help you understand whether or not you're in a high risk flood zone. Those can be found here.

Warren Sears

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