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a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

Phelps County – Spring, summer rains can mean flooding in Missouri; flood insurance can cushion the blow

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Tammy Snodgrass

First in a three-part series

PHELPS COUNTY— Already this year, some areas of Missouri have seen some significant flooding. Missouri home and landowners should get ready for the rainy season by making sure their flood insurance is up-to-date and in force.

“Flood insurance helps businesses and private citizens recover after a flood,” said Randy Verkamp, Phelps County presiding commissioner.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 95 percent of counties in the state of Missouri have been effected by 10 or more flooding events since 1996. Of that 95 percent, 58 percent have been affected by 35-plus events.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) serves as the floodplain administrator for Phelps County and is available to answer questions. Phelps County has experienced 55 flooding events since 1996 – the majority happening between 2002 and present.

While severe flooding usually comes in cycles, it is not limited to certain decades or areas, warns the National Weather Service. Since January 1996, Missouri received 25 disaster declarations involving flooding that exceeded local and state response capabilities, marking the most recent for the flood event in April and May of 2017. Each year, Missouri communities experience numerous localized flooding events that do not merit a federal disaster declaration.

Residents in Beaver Creek Subdivision south of Rolla were victims of localized flooding in 2002 and 2015. Residents in Jerome were victims of flooding in 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and residents of Newburg were victims of flooding in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 along with many residents of rural Phelps County. The flooding that occurred in April and May of 2017 was unprecedented, and many homeowners who had never had flooding issues before were faced with water in their homes and the damage it created. In 2017, flood levels in most locations surpassed the 2016 record.

If there is not a federal disaster declaration, flood insurance is the only financial protection for personal losses. Flood insurance is not provided in the basic homeowner’s, business or tenant’s policy. Flood insurance must be purchased under a separate policy through your local insurance agent in participating communities.

In Missouri, 666 flood-prone cities and counties participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), with nearly 500 having a moderate to high risk for flooding. When a community enters the NFIP, it agrees to regulate floodplain development; in return it also makes flood insurance available in that community. Phelps County joined the NFIP in 1984.

“Phelps County participates in the flood insurance program, and homeowners have the option to buy the insurance,” Verkamp said.

Residents need not live in an actual floodplain to be exposed to the hazard of serious flooding.

Here are some other important facts about NFIP:

  • Standard homeowner insurance policies do not offer protection against flood losses.
  • Homeowners, business owners and renters can purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the NFIP.
  • You do not have to live in a high-risk flood area (or floodplain) to buy flood insurance. In fact, 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from medium or low-risk flood areas.
  • If you live in a high-risk flood area, you are four times more likely to have a flood than a fire during the term of a 30-year mortgage.
  • You can buy flood insurance from any licensed insurance agent. You may call 1-800-427-2297 or go to floodsmart.gov to find an agent serving your area.
  • Flood insurance coverage is available for residential and business structures and contents.  If you have a home-based business, you’ll need to purchase separate coverage for the business and/or contents. Coverage is not automatically included under a homeowner flood insurance policy, even if the business is located inside your home.
  • Renters can purchase contents coverage for personal belongings.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period from the time the initial premium is paid until the time the policy becomes effective.
  • A flood insurance policy reimburses you to certain limits for actions taken to prevent flood damages. These actions can include moving the insured contents to a safe place and/or the cost of purchasing sandbags, plastic sheeting, lumber, pumps, ect.
  • Flood insurance claims are paid regardless of a federal disaster declaration.
  • Flood insurance will reimburse you for your covered losses and never has to be repaid, unlike a disaster assistance loan.
  • If your home or business qualifies for the Preferred Risk Policy, premiums may be as low as $177 per year.

For more information on flood plain regulations in Phelps County, persons should call Tammy Snodgrass with MRPC at 573-265-2993.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 23, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion.

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