Spring, summer rains can mean flooding in Missouri; flood insurance can cushion the blow

First in a three-part series
    Already this year, some areas of Missouri have seen some significant flooding. Missouri home and landowners should get ready for the rainy season by making sure their flood insurance is up-to-date and in force.


    According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only one of Missouri’s 114 counties has been affected by 10 or less flooding events since 1996. Of the remaining 113 counties, 68 have been affected by 50-plus events.
    Crawford County has experienced 43 flooding events since 1996 – the majority happening between 2007 and the present.
    While severe flooding usually comes in cycles, it is not limited to certain decades or areas, warns the National Weather Service. Since January 1996, Missouri received 29 disaster declarations involving flooding that exceeded local and state response capabilities, marking the most recent for the flood events that occurred in July 2020. Each year, Missouri communities experience numerous localized flooding events that do not merit a federal disaster declaration.
    Between April 28 and May 11, 2017, Crawford County was impacted by severe flooding and storms that resulted in a disaster declaration from Missouri. FEMA opened a temporary recovery center to offer in-person support to individuals and businesses. However, if there is not a federal disaster declaration, flood insurance is the only financial protection for personal losses. Flood insurance is not provided in the basic homeowner’s, business or tenant’s policy. Flood insurance must be purchased under a separate policy through your local insurance agent in participating communities.
    In Missouri, 666 flood-prone cities and counties participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), with nearly 500 having a moderate to high risk for flooding. When a community enters the NFIP, it agrees to regulate floodplain development; in return it also makes flood insurance available in that community. Crawford County joined the NFIP in 1976.
    Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) serves as the floodplain administrator for Crawford County and is available to answer questions.
    Residents need not live in an actual floodplain to be exposed to the hazard of serious flooding.
    Here are some other important facts about NFIP:
    • Standard homeowner insurance policies do not offer protection against flood losses.
    • Homeowners, business owners and renters can purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the NFIP.
    • You do not have to live in a high-risk flood area (or floodplain) to buy flood insurance. In fact, 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from medium or low-risk flood areas.
    • If you live in a high-risk flood area, you are four times more likely to have a flood than a fire during the term of a 30-year mortgage.
    • You can buy flood insurance from any licensed insurance agent. You may call 1-800-427-2297 or go to floodsmart.gov to find an agent serving your area.
    • Flood insurance coverage is available for residential and business structures and contents.  If you have a home-based business, you’ll need to purchase separate coverage for the business and/or contents. Coverage is not automatically included under a homeowner flood insurance policy, even if the business is located inside your home.
    • Renters can purchase contents coverage for personal belongings.
    • There is a 30-day waiting period from the time the initial premium is paid until the time the policy becomes effective.
    • A flood insurance policy reimburses you to certain limits for actions taken to prevent flood damages. These actions can include moving the insured contents to a safe place and/or the cost of purchasing sandbags, plastic sheeting, lumber, pumps, etc.
    • Flood insurance claims are paid regardless of a federal disaster declaration.
    • Flood insurance will reimburse you for your covered losses and never has to be repaid, unlike a disaster assistance loan.
    For more information on flood plain regulations in Crawford County, persons should call Tammy Snodgrass with MRPC at 573-265-2993.
    Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board.
    A professional staff of 34 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.