The Louisiana Insurance Department is urging everyone in the state to purchase flood insurance as hurricane season begins. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has been expressing the need for flood insurance for several months. With the April storms causing severe flooding along the Mississippi River, more people are aware of the damage high waters can do, but few are taking steps to protect their homes and property.
Commissioner Donelon claims that the number of homes with flood insurance has fallen back to pre-Katrina levels – a disturbing report as hurricane season arrives.
Donelon is not alone in his crusade for flood insurance. Several of the state’s major insurance companies have been urging residents to buy coverage as soon as possible. Flood insurance is often inexpensive, making it easily obtainable to the public. However, people’s resistance to purchasing coverage seems to be derived from the belief that no major hurricane will make landfall this year. This notion is based upon last year’s hurricane season, in which several major hurricanes formed but none ever reached land.
Some homes that fall out of levee protection, or those in low elevation, are privy to higher insurance costs. They may not be able to afford policies provided by private insurers, but they may be eligible to receive coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood insurance policies do not take effect until 30 days after they have been purchased. Donelon insists that, if people buy coverage now, they will be protected during the height of hurricane season.