Claremore Daily Progress

November 23, 2013

Rogers County promotes floodplain insurance awareness

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Unincorporated Rogers County residents are eligible to purchase affordable flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Rogers County Floodplain Administrator Larry Curtis said participation in the program allows county residents to purchase low-cost, federally backed flood insurance no matter if their property is in or out of the floodplain. 
“An average flood policy costs approximately $600 a year,” Curtis said.
The NFIP website offers coverage for as low as $129 a year.
Residents are not required to purchase the coverage through the NFIP. The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to www.floodsmart.gov.
“Flood insurance policies can be purchased from any licensed property and casualty agent,” Curtis said.
“Rogers County joined this program because of the considerable benefits it provides to its citizens,” Curtis said.  “The program also entitles residents to obtain low-interest loans and grants in the event of a federal declared flood disaster.”  
NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Rogers County joined the program in 1971.
Flood insurance is required if a home is located in a regulatory floodplain and is mortgaged by a federally regulated lender, such as Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, Small Business Administration or Fannie Mae, according to Curtis.
Homes and businesses located in moderate-to-low risk areas that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are typically not required to have flood insurance, according to the website.
Only properties located in high-risk areas are required to have flood insurance, according to the website.
About 15 percent of the land in Rogers County is in the floodplain, subject to the dangers of flash flooding, according to the Rogers County Planning Commissions website.
“If there is no mortgage and the home or business is located within the one percent chance floodplain, flood insurance is highly recommended,” Curtis said.
A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood loss, he said.
Policies are available for contents and structure, or both, according to Curtis.
“I suggest local citizens call their insurance agent who normally handles their homeowner’s policies [to purchase insurance] or visit www.floodsmart.gov to find an agent,” Curtis said.
 In addition to floor insurance homeowners should be aware permits are required prior to construction within designated floodplains, according to Curtis.
“We want to inform our citizens before they build or construct anything in a floodplain, they should first check with us to determine if the site is in a special flood hazard area,” Curtis said. “Alteration of floodplains or the placement of structures in them can significantly increase the magnitude and velocity of floodwaters.  Development is controlled so construction and related activities never divert, retard or obstruct floodwaters to the point where the public could be threatened.” 
Contact the Rogers County Planning Commission office at (918) 923-4874 for more information about floodplain management and the NFIP.