By Caryn Schulenberg
Casper, Wyoming has joined a growing number of communities around the country who are under a flood watch, flood warning, flood emergency, or flash flood watches and warnings. Spring rains mixed with melting snowpack, can quickly fill rivers and streams as temperatures rise with the coming warm weather seasons. People who live near rivers and streams probably know about keeping an eye on the water level and preparing sandbags in the event they are needed. They might also be aware that there could come a time to evacuate. People further from the river may or may not be as aware of the safety precautions needed in the event of flood, and especially a flash flood, which can come on in minutes, with little or no warning.
People who live near a river or stream, or a by a lake or the ocean, most likely have a flood insurance policy. If the home is in certain flood zones, the bank will require the borrower to carry flood insurance, which can be quite costly depending of the flood zone, and the elevation of the home. Many homeowners really hate to have to carry flood insurance, until they need it, that is. Many people mistakenly think that their homeowner’s insurance covers floods, but it doesn’t. In fact, the homeowner’s policies explicitly exclude flood, including all outside water. Very often people think of floods, as pipes breaking and flooding the home, but that is not a flood. Flood water must come from outside the home, but not from a leaky roof.
“A flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land. Flood damage can only be caused by the following water sources: overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, mudflow, collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.” If you have water in your house from an incident like these, you have a flood, and you need, or in some cases, needed to have flood insurance in place.
In flood situations, where flood insurance was not in place, FEMA will sometimes step in and cover the damage…one time. After that you ae required to carry flood insurance, even if you ever need to use it again. Remember, anywhere it rains…it can flood.Special thank you to Tim Doolin Photography for the use of the Sheridan Flooding picture.