For immediate release
Maries County – Spring, summer rains can mean flooding in Missouri; flood insurance can cushion the blow
First in a three-part series
MARIES COUNTY—Missouri home and landowners should get ready for the rainy season by making sure their flood insurance is up-to-date and in force.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 95 percent of counties in the state of Missouri have been affected 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 Maries County and is available to answer questions. Maries County has experienced 59 flooding events since 1996 – the majority happening between 2002 and the 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 26 disaster declarations involving flooding that exceeded local and state response capabilities, marking the most recent for the flood events that occurred in March and April of 2019. Each year, Missouri communities experience numerous localized flooding events that do not merit a federal disaster declaration.
Residents of Nagagomi area in southern Maries County were victims of flooding in 1998, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Flooding has also affected other recreation areas and cabins along the Gasconade River, such as the area near the Highway 63 and Highway 42 bridges. Flood levels in 2016 and 2017 were unprecedented, and many homeowners who had never had flooding issues before were faced with water in their homes and the damage it created.
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 makes affordable flood insurance available to property owners in that community. Maries County joined NFIP in 1987.
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, etc.
- 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.
For more information on flood plain regulations in Maries 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. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 33 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.