Flood insurance may be necessary for thousands more Ohioans

Posted at 3:51 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 18:21:53-04

Hurricane Harvey decimated parts of Houston and it’s estimated more than two-thirds of flood victims there don’t have flood insurance. The circumstances, believe it or not, are similar in Northeast Ohio.

According to the Ohio Flood Management Association, there are an estimated 280,000 properties across Ohio located in flood-prone areas. Of these properties, only 10% are covered by flood insurance.

Harvey will likely cost Texans tens of millions of dollars, but many of them will get massive help from FEMA.

That isn’t always the case though. The federal government will rarely offer assistance in isolated flood events.

“If you don’t have flood insurance, your repairs, pretty much are going to be on your own,” said Michael Mihalisin with the Ohio Floodplain Management Association.

OFMA is encouraging every Ohioan to look into getting flood insurance.

Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. The most common form of disaster assistance is a loan, which is paid back with interest.

Right now, there are only 34,000 active flood insurance policies in Ohio, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands the state thinks should be covered.

Those in a designated floodplain are required to have coverage. But once you step outside that boundary, it doesn’t mean the risk for flooding disappears.

“If you’re right outside, you’re not required, however the lending institution that’s loaning you the money, may still require you to have flood insurance,” said Mihalisin.

Flood damage can be pricey. Ohioans over the last three decades have paid out more than $300 million in flood insurance claims. OFMA officials want you to consider coverage now before a once in a lifetime storm, like Harvey, hits here.

“Flood insurance if you apply for it, there’s a 30 day waiting period before it becomes effective, so if you’re waiting till the river’s rising, you’re not going to be covered,” said Mihalisin.

Because of Harvey, and now Irma, flood insurance premiums are on the rise. But as of last year, the average homeowner policy in Ohio cost $800 a year.