INTERACTIVE: More than 40 years of flood data in South Dakota

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 201 insurance claims have been filed in the National Flood Insurance Program in South Dakota for this year, as of the end of June.

That is the fifth highest since the program brought under FEMA in the 1970s.

That number is expected to rise.

The highest number in the state was 926 claims during the 2011 floods.

For the first time ever, FEMA is releasing this data publicly.

KELOLAND News analyzed every single insurance claim since 1977 to put together an interactive map below.

You can filter by Zip Code: the number of claims, how much an average payout was from FEMA and the total number of insurance claims. You can also filter it down by a certain time period.

Fewer South Dakotans are paying for flood insurance, KELOLAND Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer reports.

The national flood policies have been shrinking over that last few years in South Dakota.

South Dakota had 5,661 in 2012, according to the national program. They steadily fell year after year to 3,723 in 2017.

National flood insurance costs an average of about $700 per year. However, Mercer reports a policy can range from about $400 to about $1,600.

Even then it won’t cover losses of personal belongings, carpet or drapes in the basement, a state official said, but it will reimburse some money for furnaces and water heaters.

A Sioux Falls man learned that all too well in March.

Todd Jones lives near Lotta Street, one of the hardest-hit areas in Sioux Falls during the spring flooding. His basement was underwater and a wall collapsed.

His belongings weren’t covered.

“Flood insurance typically covers what’s above grade, meaning above ground-level,” insurance agent Dean Karsky said. “So if you’re worried about your basement flooding, and you buy flood insurance policy, you will have some coverage. You won’t have coverage for carpeting or personal property.”

Homeowners and renters insurance usually doesn’t cover flood damage, so that’s why people consider flood insurance.

South Dakota has seen several Presidential Disaster Declarations requested by Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) this year.

Those allow for FEMA disaster grants for certain areas. The grants average about $5,000 per household. Meanwhile, flood insurance claims average $69,000.

If you got a FEMA grant this year and live in a high-risk flood zone, you must have flood insurance to be considered for future disaster aid.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Continuing The Conversation
See Full Weather Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss

Flooding Resources