Harvey’s devastation reminder of the  importance of flood insurance

  • Written by News Release from the Kings County Flood Control District

The damage left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is an urgent reminder for all of us, especially those living in a floodplain, for the need for flood insurance to help  in the recovery after the waters recede.

“Hurricane Harvey in Houston is a sobering reminder of the importance of protecting residents, homes and businesses from the devastating effects of flooding,” said King County Flood Control District Chair Reagan Dunn. “We must always be prepared.”

A 2013 study reported there are 32,000 residents living within a floodplain in King County. The same study showed there are only 7,200 flood insurance policies in ALL of King County—this includes both cities and unincorporated communities.

In comparison, in Harris County, Texas—which includes the city of Houston—there are 251,920 policies in force, with 119,000 of them in Houston alone.

It might surprise people to know that, standard insurance policies will not cover flood damage.

To find out about obtain-ing flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or visit

Dunn and Flood Control District Vice Chair Dave Upthegrove are also calling for legislation from the King County Flood Control District to review and assess gaps in existing emergency action plans associated with levees in King County. In addition, evacuation and sheltering plans in place must be updated to serve populations that would be affected by the breech of levees similar to the events occurring in Houston.

“Developing emergency plans can be a matter of life and death,” said Upthegrove. “The District and the County should create robust strategies to streamline our response, and better take care for those impacted in the case of natural disaster.”

The proposed legislation will be similar to the resolution adopted by the District after the hole in the spillway of the Oroville Dam last February, when communities downriver from the dam were threatened. It will call on the Flood District and the County Executive, working with our local and federal partners, to review the existing emergency action plans associated with the major levees in King County. It will also prioritize actions necessary to update or create plans for evacuation and shelter for those affected by failures or conditions that cause the levees to be breeched.

Note:  The King County Flood Control District is a special purpose government created to provide funding and  policy  oversight  for  flood   protection  projects  and programs in King County. The Flood Control District’s Board is composed of the members of the King County Council. The Water and Land Resources Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks develops and implements the approved flood protection projects and programs. Information is available at

Editor’s Note:    Why doesn’t standard homeowners insurance cover flood damage?

Insurance Companies are in the business to make money, and floods are generally a money-losing policy for them.

Floods occur over a fairly large area, and usually damage every home in the area. So the insurance company is paying out many, many claims at once. Fires, lightning strikes, etc. are basically random, and only a few houses will have claims at one time. Even when a tornado goes through a neighborhood only a few houses are hit, leaving others right next door undamaged.

Floods occur in certain areas. So it's quite possible that this same area will flood again. That means the insurance companies might have to pay repeated claims on this property.
Floods very seldom occur in other areas defeating the basic premise of insurance…spreading the risk over a lot of people when only a few will actually have a claim.

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