PIERRE — It won’t happen to me.
Many South Dakotans may believe they don’t need to buy flood insurance. Their house has never flooded before. They don’t live in a high-risk flood zone.
But flooding this year in South Dakota has demonstrated that much of the damage can occur in areas not considered especially at risk and a flood insurance policy is a sound investment. One inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 of damage in a home.
The National Flood Insurance Program has received 222 flood insurance claims in South Dakota as of Aug. 6 and paid more than $3.7 million to policyholders. More than half of those claims were for property that was not in a high-risk flood zone, or Special Flood Hazard Area. Most came from communities that were not designated for FEMA disaster assistance to homeowners and renters.
When flooding happens, the damage is not covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies.
Property owners can protect themselves from these financial losses by having a flood insurance policy through the NFIP. Flood insurance coverage is available regardless of federal disaster declarations.
In South Dakota, 229 communities participate in the NFIP and 3,739 policies are in effect. Residents can purchase a flood insurance policy if their community participates in the NFIP, no matter their flood risk. After the recent disaster, several additional communities have expressed interest in participating in the NFIP.
Coverage is available for residential and commercial buildings and the contents in them:
• Up to $250,000 in building coverage and up to $100,000 in contents coverage for single-to-four family residential structures
• Up to $500,000 in building coverage and up to $100,000 in contents coverage for five-or-more family residential structures
• Up to $500,000 in building coverage and up to $500,000 in contents coverage for businesses
How to buy:
• Contact your insurance company or agent. In addition to the NFIP, flood insurance is also available from some private insurance providers.
• For an agent referral, call 800-427-4661 or visit https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/How-Buy-Flood-Insurance
For more information, visit FloodSmart.gov or call the NFIP helpdesk at 800-427-4661.