Less than 1% of Georgians have flood insurance

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Shocking statistics revealing 80 percent of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance.

A review of Federal Emergency Management Agency data shows that Houston's Harris County had 25,000 fewer flood-insured properties in June than it did in 2012. Residents fleeing Harvey's flood waters have no financial backup to fix up their homes and will have to draw on savings or borrow or perhaps be forced to sell.

Uninsured homeowners in Georgia, even higher. Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens tells us less than one percent of Georgians have flood coverage.

You could live as far inland as downtown and still experience flooding in Savannah, but it's these zones - like on Isle of Hope - if you have a federally backed mortgage where FEMA requires flood insurance.

They also require homes to be built much like the ones out on Tybee. To be build up on piles, posts, or piers to protect them even more from flood damage.

"If you live anywhere that could possibly be flooded and you say 'Well, we've never had a flood.' Well, they hadn't had a flood like this in Houston. I think it said it's the 400-year event. So, you never know when it's going to happen," Commissioner Hudgens said.

Even if you live in an area that is low to medium risk and doesn't require flood insurance, it's still strongly encouraged.

The Department of Insurance says about 1/4 of these flood claims come from low to medium risk areas. That's because a lot of people think if they have homeowner's insurance they're covered.

"A homeowner's policy will not cover a flood," Commissioner Hudgens said.

It covers wind and rain damage.

Commissioner Hudgens says - with hurricane season already underway - taking a chance is not your best option.

"You say, ‘Well, a hurricane's coming into Savannah, so I'm going to run and buy a flood insurance policy.’ You can buy it. It's not going to go into effect for 30 days,” Commissioner Hudgens said.

With one month to process, do not wait another day.

If you're still debating taking that leap and getting flood insurance, Commissioner Hudgens says it's only about $700 per year - which is not even close to measurable of losing your house and everything in it.

You can obtain more information about flood insurance by clicking here.

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