While Kansas is not a state typically known for flood problems, extremely damaging floods do happen here from time to time. Residents who do not have flood insurance may find themselves facing expensive cleanup, repair and replacement costs if their homes or businesses are within the flood’s reach. Unfortunately, a vast majority of Kansas residents do not have coverage against these events. If you are among them, you may want to consider at least looking at some flood insurance quotes. It may surprise you how little it can cost to protect your property against this very damaging natural disaster.
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Facts About the Great Flood of 1951
- On July 13, 1951, the worst flood disaster in the state’s history struck Kansas.
- Above-average rainfall caused rivers throughout the state to crest beyond their boundaries.
- Flooded rivers included the Kansas, Osage, Neosho, Verdigris and Missouri Rivers.
- The KS cities most affected were Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence.
- Twenty-eight lives were lost due to the flood.
- Five-hundred thousand people lost their homes.
- The flood destroyed 2 million acres of farmland.
- The flooding led to fires and explosions in oil refinery tanks along the banks of the Kansas River.
- The overflow event caused approximately $1 billion in damage ($6.4 billion in today’s dollars).
- The flooding led to the construction of levees and reservoirs to reduce the risk of such a major disaster occurring again.
Why Do Kansas Residents Need Flood Insurance?
Many people assume that flood damage coverage is included in their homeowners, renters or business insurance policies. Unfortunately, in nearly every case, it is not. If an overflow event destroys your property, you must cover the damage out of your own pocket unless you have a flood insurance policy.
If FEMA declares the flood a disaster, they will step in to provide assistance. However, the assistance they provide comes only in the form of low interest loans that you must repay to the government. For example, the cost to repay a loan for $20,000 far exceeds the cost to cover your home with flood insurance for 30 years.
According to FEMA estimates, as little as 2 inches of floodwater in a 1,000 square foot home can cause as much as $10,000 in damage. Flooding in a basement can result in the need to replace appliances such as your furnace and hot water heater and can cause structural damage and the need for expensive mold removal.
If the floodwaters rise to aboveground floors, the damage can become far more expensive because your personal belongings such as electronics and furnishings will likely sustain damage beyond repair and will need replacement. FEMA reports that the average paid flood insurance claim is approximately $35,000.
What Is the National Flood Insurance Program?
Because flood damage is so expensive, by the 1950s, most home insurance companies had excluded coverage against floods from their policies. Unfortunately, floods, such as the one that caused so much destruction in KS in 1951, left many homeowners and communities financially devastated.
Because disasters such as this were so devastating for so many Americans who literally had no options, the U.S. Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, in 1968. The federal government backs all flood insurance policies offered through this program. Although this program operates at a loss, it has saved the country billions of dollars in bankruptcy claims.
You are guaranteed a flood insurance policy if you live in a high-risk area. And your rates will not increase if you file a claim. Coverage rates on these policies are standard across the country. Your level flood risk, as determined by FEMA-drawn flood maps in your area, and the amount of coverage you purchase determine your rates.
The average flood insurance policy costs as little as 1 dollar a day. Those who live in low-risk areas might get quotes as low as $120 a year. This is a small price to pay to protect your home, business or personal property.
Kansas Flood Insurance Facts as Reported by FEMA
- There are currently 13,130 flood insurance policies in effect in this state.
- Less than 1 percent of the residents in Kansas are covered by flood insurance.
- Residents in this state filed 125 flood insurance claims in 2012.
- These claims resulted in $2,433,000 in compensation paid to policyholders.
- That equates to an average of about $19,464 per claim.
What Does a Flood Insurance Policy Cover?
NFIP-backed flood insurance policies are available to both individuals and business owners. Each type of policy includes two types of coverage, one for the structure of the building itself and one for its contents.
You have the option to purchase either type of coverage or both, depending on your particular needs. Most homeowners opt to purchase both. Landlords will generally purchase building coverage only, while renters need only purchase contents coverage.
- Building coverage: This will reimburse you for the costs associated with damage to the home's or building’s structure, including the following:
- Its foundation
- Plumbing and electrical systems
- Heating and air conditioning units
- Built-in appliances
- Any permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors
Individuals can purchase a maximum of $250,000 in coverage, while business owners are limited to $500,000 in coverage.
- Contents coverage: This will reimburse you for the costs associated with loss or damage to the property you keep in your home or business, including the following:
- Window air conditioners
- Portable appliances
- Carpeting and flooring over finished floors
Flood insurance will not cover contents kept in a finished basement. Individuals can purchase a maximum of $100,000 in contents coverage, while business owners can purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.
Get Flood Insurance Quotes from an Agent in Kansas
Although the federal government provides flood insurance policies, you must purchase insurance through a qualified insurance provider. Obtaining a flood insurance policy for your home or business is easy with the help of an agent in the Trusted Choice® network. These independent insurance agents can help you assess how much coverage you need and can provide you with information about how much you can expect to pay for different levels of coverage.
Find an agent in or near your Kansas neighborhood to get more information, and start reviewing flood insurance quotes in no time.