The Big Story Blog

Little hope for homeowners without flood insurance

Posted at 9:50 AM on June 22, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Weather

Homeowners dealing with the aftermath of the flooding are about to confront a horrible reality: They'll have to pay out-of-pocket for much of the damage to their homes.

Only about 100 homes in Duluth carry flood insurance, available through the National Flood Insurance Program . That means most of the damage that hit Duluth property owners this week is uninsured.

The Insurance Federation of Minnesota writes:

Flooding caused by heavy overnight rains ravaged the Cannon Falls/Northfield and Duluth areas over the last week and called attention to the dramatic lack of Minnesotans who purchase flood insurance coverage.

Only 111 flood insurance policies were in force in Duluth and only 12 policies were sold in Cannon Falls this year, according to statistics available on the website of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

"Despite being available in about 85% of the state's municipalities, less than 1% of all Minnesotans buy flood insurance," said Insurance Federation of Minnesota President Bob Johnson. "Since the standard homeowners' insurance policy does not cover flood damage, it is important for all Minnesotans to carefully consider all their options to protect their home, which in many cases should include flood insurance."
Some homeowners have an insurance rider that covers water damage from sewer or drain backup, coverage that typically costs less than $50 per year, the insurer group says.

Flood coverage, though, is still rare in much of Minnesota. Unlike folks in the Red River Valley who live each year with the prospects of flooding, it hardly ever happens in Duluth. Until this week, having no flood coverage didn't seem like a gamble.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.