Flood insurance recommended, even if you live outside floodplain

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency says they are making some changes to simplify the process for flood survivors who need to make insurance claims. The new program starts Thursday.

Roy Wright, the head of the National Insurance Program, says nearly 8,000 claims have been filed so far following the Memorial Day weekend floods. The claims have come from people in Wimberley, San Marcos and Houston. FEMA has been able to get to 900 of those claims so far, giving out more than $44 million of financial assistance. If you need assistance, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA.

Flooding in East Austin on Wednesday reached the doorstep of some homes near Manor Road. Many homeowners there do not have flood insurance. ut whether you’re in a flood plain or not flood insurance is highly recommended.

“It was a lake. It was like a swimming pool,” Sage Wilson said of her yard. “We put all the important items in the car, took about two days worth of clothes and put those in duffel bags, took the dogs and got out.”

But Wilson said the high water is nothing new. Her home sits at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and is the lowest point on her street.

“It’s scary and we just get kind of numb because it happens so frequently,” she added.

A creek directly behind many homes in the neighborhood is also a threat.

“If you are approximate to flooding sources in any way, whether that’s the river or there are areas by which the water ponds when those rain storms come, you want flood insurance,” said Roy Wright, head of the National Insurance Program, which is directly affiliated with FEMA. “Flood insurance pays whether or not there’s a disaster declaration.”

While serious, Wednesday’s flooding did not rise to the level of a disaster, meaning the only protection for people like Sage is to buy flood insurance.

Texas is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to flood-control spending. The state does not fund flood-control infrastructure directly and it also does not have a statewide floodplain management plan. In turn, Texans pay nearly $372 million in flood insurance policies, second only to Florida. In the last few decades, more than $5 billion has been paid out to Texans with flood insurance.

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