Fewer Americans insure against flooding despite growing disaster risks

June 18, 2019

Climate change is known to make floods and hurricanes more frequent and severe, yet The New York Times reports that fewer Americans have flood insurance than a decade ago. The decline in flood coverage persists despite a two-year campaign by the Trump administration to double the number of Americans insured against floods.

In fact, the number of flood insurance policies in the Midwest has dropped by at least one-third since 2011. Less than 15% of homes have coverage in floodplains like Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri, the NYT reports.

Behavioral economists say people underestimate the odds of something bad happening to them despite recent disasters. Coupled with the increasing cost of coverage due to rising risk levels and changes to the federal flood insurance program, less people are opting to pay for flood insurance.

In Indiana, state and federal emergency response agencies are changing their recovery funding roles, meaning Hoosiers will have to bear more of a financial burden after each disaster.

Though Indiana is one of the few states that has a disaster relief fund of its own, the fund’s coffers are not as large as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s. FEMA officials say the agency will not be there to bail out local and state governments after every emergency.

Though flood insurance is an added burden for many Hoosiers, it may be the only way to ensure recovery after a disaster.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has a website to help Hoosiers get prepared to deal with the questions that come up before, during or after a natural disaster strikes. The information is available at getprepared.in.gov.

Fewer Americans insure against flooding despite growing disaster risks