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Flood insurance may, may not help

Flood insurance may, may not help

POCATELLO, Idaho - It feels like there will be no end to all the rain in Southeast Idaho, but it still seems to be catching many people off guard when their homes flood. One of the most talked about precautions – flood insurance – may not be helpful.

In some cases, having flood insurance may not help you with the recent flooding. But more important, it may not come automatically with your homeowner's insurance, meaning you won't have it even if it does help.

"With these big thunderstorms and the big storms we've had where there's been flooding," said Tim Stronks, vice president of personal lines at Farm Bureau Insurance, "most of them are not covered under your homeowners insurance."

Stronks said if you don't live on a flood plain, you likely will not be required to have flood insurance.

"Flood insurance is good," Stronks said. "If you live on a flood plain, most banks require it on your mortgage."

Stronks advises getting flood insurance, but where do you begin? There are two kinds of flood insurance – federal and private. Premium amounts vary based on how far your home is from the flood plain.

"The premium, if you're in an average flood plain, is about $400," Stronks said, "and if you're in the higher flood plain it's more."

Stronks said working with your private insurer is a good first step, as it may have costs lower than the federal options. He also said your agent should be able to help you get a policy that is right for you. He said he's seen some federal policyholders paying $6,000 per year for flood insurance.

Stronks said there are circumstances where recent floods from storms could be covered under a flood insurance policy.

"For those to be covered under federal, you'd have to have two or more homes adjacent to you flood," he said. "Under the private program, you could probably have some coverage there."

Stronks said floods that occur from something like a sprinkler system breaking and sending water into your home is a case more ideal for flood insurance coverage.

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