Floods Cause Homeowners to Buy Insurance - 8 News NOW

Floods Cause Homeowners to Buy Insurance

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House damaged at Beaver Dam, Arizona House damaged at Beaver Dam, Arizona

LAS VEGAS -- Home and business owners rebuilding from flood damage will discover their basic homeowner insurance policies will not pay for their repairs. According to the FEMA website, out of about 1.8 million living in Clark county, only 3,300 have flood insurance.

Residents may think it can never happen, but insurance companies say having flood coverage will save you when it counts.

Alan Meyer and his wife are on flood watch after heavy rains filled the Flamingo Wash near their home, spewing water too close for comfort. Flood water has never damaged their home, but they are covered with flood insurance just in case.

"If you're in a low area like we are, it is the wise thing to invest in," he said.

Linda Valkenburg with Sage Insurance has been selling insurance for 35 years. She says most homeowners have water damage covered on their policies, but not floods.

"Not rushing water coming in from outside. It's your typical hot water heater dies and it slanted towards your house so you have water everywhere," she said.

Whether it's a low-lying area like the Meyers, near a river or on a downslope, a number of Las Vegas valley homes are in danger and their owners don't know it.

"If yours is the house that's going to fall into the Virgin River, there will be no coverage for that home," said Valkenburg.

In general, unless a mortgage company requires flood insurance, Valkenburg says people seldom purchase it. It is seen as a unnecessary expense even when the economy was in better shape.

Meyer pays about $350 a year for his policy -- drops in the bucket compared to the cost of what could happen.

"I know I won't be without a home if something does happen. I'll have something," he said.

Flood insurance is offered by the federal government and the amount you pay depends on where you live. Sage Insurance says once this storm passes, it expects to receive phone calls for coverage, which go up to $250,000 for your house and $100,000 for the contents inside.

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