Congress established the national flood insurance program in 1968. The reason? Insurance businesses wouldn’t provide coverage.
That’s generally still the case, according to Larry Deiter.
He’s director for the state Insurance Division in the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.
Some companies have started testing the market, he said. People who want flood coverage should contact their agents who already provide other insurance.
In an interview Monday, Deiter said national flood insurance costs an average of about $700 per year. He said a policy could range from about $400 to about $1,600.
Even then it won’t cover losses of personal belongings, carpet or drapes in the basement, he said, but it will reimburse some money for furnaces and water heaters.
Homeowners can move items upstairs onto the main floor or to an upper floor if one’s available.
That includes important documents.
Deiter said there are answers to many frequently asked questions about flood insurance on the website for his office.
Statistics showed a shrinking number of national flood policies were purchased in South Dakota during the most-recent five-year period.
South Dakota had 5,661 in 2012, according to the national program. They steadily fell year after year to 3,723 in 2017.
They also fell nationally during that time, but not as steeply. There were about 5.6 million in 2012 and slipped to about 5.1 million in 2017.