CHARLESTON, W.Va.¬†—¬†Heading into spring, a lot of West Virginia residents do not have flood insurance.

That’s risky, said David Maurstad, chief executive for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program.

“Spring flooding can be very unpredictable which puts many properties at risk, so we want people to think about the flood risk and be prepared,” he told MetroNews.

In Charleston alone, less than three percent of property owners and renters currently have flood insurance, according to information from NFIP, after a wet winter and ahead of what’s expected to be a rainy spring.

“If it can rain, it can flood and so, I think, most people need it. It’s a responsible choice just like having homeowner or renter insurance or car insurance,” Maurstad said.

“Flooding is the largest uninsured risk in the nation and people need to be mindful that flood damage isn’t typically covered by many standard homeowner and commercial insurance policies.”

Last April, Governor Jim Justice issued a State of Emergency for ten counties in central West Virginia due to the potential for “significant” flooding.

Maurstad said water can do a lot of damage.

“Usually when a home or a business is flooded, it’s a number of inches — anywhere from six (inches) to two or three feet, but only one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 worth of damage,” he said.

In 2017, the average flood insurance claim payment in the U.S. was more than $90,000.

More information about flood risk and flood insurance options is available at floodsmart.gov of through local insurance agents.

It usually takes 30 days for flood insurance policies to go into effect.

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