Should You Get Flood Insurance?

When you think about preparing for hurricane season, one of the first things that comes to mind is probably a pack of emergency supplies. But the folks with Harris County Flood Control say, there's something just as important that some people don't think about.

Emergency radio, check.

Canned food, check.

Heather Saucier with the Harris County Flood Control District says many Houstonians go through their storm checklist every year around this time, but too many leave out something very important.

“They’re very good about stocking up on batteries and duct tape and bottled water and items like that, but they forget one of the most important items.”

That item is flood insurance.

“There’s a myth about flooding here in Harris County. And that is if I don’t live in a mapped flood plain, I don’t need flood insurance because I’m not at risk for flooding.”

Saucier says that myth creates a lot of heartache for some homeowners after the damage is done, and it’s too late to get insurance. She says the reason people don’t get it usually isn’t money. It’s because they don’t live in a flood plain and don’t think they need it.

“There are many people when they relocate to Houston or by a new home they could be told by realtor that you’re home is not in a flood plain, so you don’t need flood insurance. Sometimes that can be used as a selling point.

A mapped flood plain will show a person their risk of flooding if a bayou were to come out of its banks during certain theoretical type floods. But it doesn’t show the risk of other types of flooding that we see so often get in the Houston area.”

And then there are those who’ve lived in the same home for decades and assume, because it’s never flooded that it never will.

“For people who haven’t flooded, it’s not because you are on a hill mountaintop; it’s because that big dark cloud has not settled over their homes and produced a tremendous amount of rain in a very short time.”

Saucier says people should keep in mind there’s a 30 day waiting period for flood insurance to go into effect. So you can’t wait until you hear the weatherman say there’s a big storm coming and then decide to apply for insurance.