Almost everyone lives in an area with some flood risk. The question is not if, but when, the next storm will occur in Texas. Flooding is still the most common and expensive natural disaster in the United States.

That’s why it’s important to remember that if it can rain, it can flood, and flood damage isn’t typically covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Take the Glasgow family in Santa Fe, for example. They experienced the devastation of flooding firsthand during Hurricane Harvey. Their home withstood Hurricane Ike and Tropical Storm Allison. It had never flooded before Harvey, so the family didn’t have reason, or so they thought, to purchase flood insurance. But Harvey was a storm of historic proportions — and the Glasgows returned from evacuation to find the house inundated, molded and unsalvageable.

In the eight counties hit hardest by Harvey, only 17 percent of homeowners had flood insurance, according to The Washington Post. A Houston Chronicle analysis showed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s average financial assistance for homeowners ranged between $4,000 and $7,000. Meanwhile, the average flood insurance payout was $120,000.

Flood insurance helps homeowners rebuild and recover, while federal assistance is only to help keep you afloat while you rebuild. Federal assistance is only available if the president declares a disaster after one of these major storms, and even then, assistance is likely to be provided for partial repairs or in the form of a low-interest loan that must be repaid. For most floods, however, no government assistance is available, and if government assistance is offered, it will not fully replace what you lose. The solution is to get flood insurance today.

Whether you rent or own your home, even if you don’t live in a flood zone, having flood insurance is the best way to recover quickly and completely.

Most policies take 30 days to become effective, so there’s no time to waste.

If your household received federal assistance after a presidentially declared disaster, and you live in a special flood hazard area, you’re required to maintain flood insurance. Otherwise, you will not receive federal disaster assistance for home repairs if you experience another flood event.

In the last 10 years, Texas experienced nine flood-related presidential declared disasters. Four of those disasters have occurred since Hurricane Harvey. Who knows how many more we will experience in the future? But we all can be prepared when they do come.

The Glasgow family now understands this reality. Although they lacked flood insurance, the family was eligible for the Texas General Land Office’s Homeowner Assistance Program and received keys to their rebuilt, elevated home last year. The program provides the first year of flood insurance, but the Glasgows plan to keep flood insurance coverage, so they don’t have to go through the nightmare of Harvey again.

I urge all Texans to purchase a flood insurance policy to protect their families and their livelihoods from financial loss.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush was born in Houston and now oversees coastal protection and manages long-term recovery efforts from natural disasters including hurricanes and floods.


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(5) comments

Bailey Jones

Yes, everyone needs to get flood insurance. If Harvey taught us anything it's that "but, it's never flooded here" is not protection from flooding. If you live in a low risk area, a policy can be had for a few hundred dollars. If your policy is expensive - that's your clue that your are in danger of flooding. If you can't afford flood insurance, consider moving to some place you can afford - flood insurance isn't optional. Don't be stuck with no home and your hand out to the feds, they are broke.

Also - is that P's official photo? He looks like a sociopath.

Ted Gillis

This is so critical. I live in Santa Fe, and almost all of my neighbors had water in their house during Hurricane Harvey. 54 inches of rain is just unimaginable. Water was up to my door, but never came inside, although there was some seepage along the back bed rooms (which proves that my house slab is not level). I had flood insurance, and was able to place a claim for new carpet, but hardly anyone else around me had flood insurance because of just what Bush had said, they never believed it was necessary.

There are still some homes that have not been moved back into up and down my street. Please heed scary Bush. If you have not purchased flood insurance by now, you are just plain dumb.

Carlos Ponce

I asked Dad why he did not have flood insurance. He said he did - he went to church. The house went through Alicia, TS Allison Rita, Ike, Harvey - not a drop of water in the house. But I am south of Santa Fe about 5 miles north of Jamaica Beach.

Ted Gillis

5 miles north of Jamaica Beach. Funny

But probably true from a seagulls point of view.

Chuck DiFalco

"Yes, everyone needs to get flood insurance." "If you have not purchased flood insurance by now, you are just plain dumb."

No, not everyone, and no, it's not always dumb. If you pay 500 bucks give or take like I do, you should just buy it. However, I know someone who used to live in La Porte and moved to Pearland because the flood insurance was more than 10 thousand dollars per year. I don't know if the 10 grand figure is true or not, but the lesson remains that price is everything. More than $10,000 per year and I'm not buying flood insurance. I'll just bank the cash and will come out ahead. If it's cheap, I'm buying insurance. Same tenet holds true with life insurance, etc.

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