Oklahoma officials: Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage

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EDMOND, Okla. – The images of Tropical Storm Harvey bring up raw emotions for Jennifer O’Brien.

“I see the houses in Houston right now, and I know what they’re going through. And, to walk into your house and see everything, you know, it was quite devastating,” O’Brien said.

Her Edmond home flooded back in June of 2010.

The water reached above the mailboxes.

“So, there was four feet of water in the garage and then 18 inches in the house just below the outlets,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said she thought her homeowner’s insurance would cover the damage but it did not.

Instead of a low interest loan from FEMA or a second mortgage on the house, they saved up and slowly fixed everything, with a lot of help from family and friends.

“My father-in-law and mother-in-law ordered sheet rock and supplies like that, and we had people donate their time and their services to us,” O’Brien said.

In all, it cost them close to $50,000, out of pocket.

“People just don’t purchase the insurance coverage, either because they didn’t know about it or they think their homeowner’s policy covers those damages, and it just doesn’t,” said Oklahoma Deputy Insurance Commissioner Buddy Combs.

Combs said flood insurance has to be purchased separately, much like earthquake insurance.

And, he said they encourage everyone, whether you’re in a flood plain or not, to check into getting it.

“We try to preach to people, you know, just because you don’t live in an area that floods all the time doesn’t mean you can’t get flood insurance. You really need to look into it,” Combs said.

Combs said your insurance agent should be able to write a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Not very many Oklahomans take advantage, though.

According to their statistics, there are 14,111 flood insurance policies in our state.

If you’d like more information about flood insurance, you can find it here.

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