Experts urge residents to invest in flood insurance

Experts urge residents to invest in flood insurance
Chaffin says it's better to pay for a policy, than it is to pay for damages. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Chaffin says it's better to pay for a policy, than it is to pay for damages. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Hurricane season is quickly approaching, and a disturbance is already being monitored in the Atlantic.

Just the mention of the season puts many Coast residents on edge. One concerns that tops the list - flooding, and how to prepare for it.

"As we found in 2005, if water came in....your regular home insurance wouldn't handle it," said Harrison County Emergency Management Director, Rupert Lacy.

Not having coverage was an issue many Coast residents faced in the weeks, months, and even years after Hurricane Katrina. Now, experts are urging everyone to take a serious look at getting insured; even if the property isn't located zoned a flood zone.

"Flood is strictly dealing with rising water," said Allstate Insurance Agent, Ernie Chaffin.

According to Chaffin, if a property isn't insured against flood waters, hurricanes aren't all that should be of concern. Case in point - the heavy rainfall South Mississippi saw in April.

"We saw places flood - businesses, homes - flood that have never had a drop of water in them," said Chaffin.

Crystal Croft says she saw the damage first hand at her home off of Dedeaux Rd.

"My home actually got 3 to 5 inches of water inside, which was a shocker to us," said Croft.

Those who live near Croft say that until the heavy rains in April, they hadn't seen any flooding in the decades they've lived in the neighborhood. But now, Croft is left paying for cleanup from her own pocket as she thinks about the future.

"What would we need to do to ensure that something that happened this last time doesn't happen to us again," asked Croft.

The answer: invest in flood insurance.

Chaffin suggests getting in touch with an agent before hurricanes arrive. Although a policy can be purchased at any time, it's never a good idea to wait until there is a storm brewing.

"There is a 30 day wait. So if you wait until there's something coming up in the Gulf and you think, 'Maybe we need to put some flood insurance on our house,' it's too late," said Chaffin.

Experts say flood insurance policies are affordable, and it's better to pay for the policy than spend a lot more if damage actually does occur.

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