Government encourages getting flood insurance

(WBAY) - Gov. Tony Evers declared this Flood Insurance Awareness Week across Wisconsin.

It's in response to the likelihood of serious flooding issues this spring due to record high water levels and melting snowpack sitting on already-saturated soil.

When it comes to protecting your home from floodwaters, "People need to be aware," State Farm insurance agent Scott Folsom said.

Aware of what's covered and what's not.

"My regular homeowners policy does not cover flood. It does not cover groundwater, period. There's no carrier that covers flood on your homeowners policy."

Folsom says flood insurance can be purchased through FEMA or private carriers.

Where you live in a flood plain, or if you're near one, will determine your risk level and the cost.

Folsom also has this advice he says nearly every homeowner should consider.

"Do I have a backup of sewer and water endorsement? It's an add-on on my homeowners policy," he said. "Backup of sewer and drain will cover two perils -- two things, two things only -- if the sump pump and drain tile system fails because there's so much melting and water and it can't keep up, particularly those people whose sump pump runs a lot, and then the other thing it covers is if the sewer system, the city sewer were to back up and that's a mess when that would back up into your house."

Despite flooding being one of the most common natural disasters, it's estimated only 15 percent of homeowners have flood insurance.

"Call whoever you're insured with now and have them help you or at least give you the information to make what's the good decision, because it's not always the best decision to have it -- but it can be a bad decision not to have it, that's for sure."

And keep in mind the insurance policy doesn't take effect the moment you buy it.

"With that policy, that flood policy, there's 30 days of no coverage, so with spring coming, sooner rather than later," Folsom urged.