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FEMA urges homeowners to purchase flood insurance ahead of wildfires, monsoon

FEMA stressing the importance of flood insurance
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 6:42 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - From wildfires to flooding, southern Arizona is no stranger to danger, and FEMA is urging homeowners to protect their property before a natural disaster hits.

Jeff Jackson, FEMA deputy assistant administrator in federal insurance, said flood insurance can save homeowners tens of thousands of dollars.

“Just an inch of water can cost up to $25,000 worth of damage to your home, it can add up pretty quickly even if you just have a few inches of flooding in your home,” Jackson said.

Jackson said you don’t want to wait until it’s too late. He said it’s important to not only protect yourself from flooding before a wildfire but also after one. Especially if you live near a burn scar, you could find yourself drowning in debt.

“After a wildfire, the ground of course is charred and all the vegetation is gone. So, it’s extremely likely for flash flooding and mudslides to occur much more than before,” Jackson said. “The reason is all that vegetation that soaks up the water and prohibits that flash flooding is all gone, so it’s just bare earth.”

It’s not just after a wildfire either, FEMA says flooding can happen in a burn scar for up to five years after the flames.

That’s why FEMA says it’s important to talk to your insurance company now before monsoon and heavy rains come to the desert.

“It’s important to note that homeowners insurance and renters insurance typically does not cover flood damage. So, in order to head that coverage and have that peace of mind it’s important to purchase a flood insurance policy,” Jackson said.

Jackson said it’s also important to talk to your insurance provider about the risk of your property. He said if you’re close to a water source, burn scars or if your home doesn’t have a great drainage system, you’re at higher risk.

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