How Important is Flood Insurance in Region 8?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Flooding is the nation's number one natural disaster.  In just the past decade, annual flood losses in the United States have averaged $2.4 billion dollars per year.  Currently, more than 5 million policy holders are protected with flood insurance; however, many more homeowners remain at risk.

Many families in Region 8 may learn the hard way this spring that their homeowners insurance does not cover flooding.

"Flooding is a concern obviously here in Arkansas, flatlands," said State Farm Insurance agent Ben Ford, "I would definitely take a look at if your home has ever flooded before, if you have concerns. Make sure you are not in a flood zone. Flood losses can occur if you are not in a flood zone."

"I went out of the house, raised the garage door and the garage filled up with water and the water proceeded to come into the house in the next few hours and it just catches you off guard and you can't do anything about it," said Jess Park.

Park's home was damaged last September during a freak flood at Jonesboro's Windsor Landing neighborhood.  Every room in his home had water damage.  Not living in a flood zone, he didn't have flood insurance.

"Initially, and after the flooding that we had, we understood that hopefully it was some kind of problem with the drainage and that drainage problem had been fixed so we shouldn't have flooding again.  So that's the reason why we haven't gotten flood insurance yet," said Park.

With more rain predicted in the forecast some folks may feel that a flood insurance policy could be a good investment but ford reminds us that a policy must have a 30 day waiting period before going into effect.

Flood damage repair can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while an annual premium usually runs from $300 to $700.  But those not insured are not always out of luck.

"If you do have a flood loss and you do not have flood insurance, there are emergency service providers that can come out immediately to help you get the water up and give you some information on what to do to prevent mold and mildew from happening," said Ford.

For folks living in communities that do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, it may be difficult to recover extensive losses and you can't purchase flood insurance if your community isn't involved in the federal program. If your community doesn't take part, you can petition your local government to take the actions to qualify for NFIP participations.

To find out if your community participates in the NFIP, go to

If the community applies and is accepted into the NFIP within six months of a presidential disaster declaration, these limitations on federal disaster assistance may be lifted. Upon your community's acceptance in the NFIP, you may purchase flood insurance for future flooding events; however, the flood insurance would not cover losses suffered prior to purchasing flood insurance.