FEMA urging people to get flooding insurance after historic floods in 2018


It has been nearly one year since the historic floods that hit La Crosse in 2018.

First News at Nine’s Hayley Spitler talked with a victim of those floods and how flood insurance saved him.

Last August, record flood levels flowed into communities in western Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin emergency management agency estimated about $51 million worth of damage across the state. For Sparta area resident, Marty Severson the floods hit fast and the damage even faster.

“Within a couple of seconds, furniture in the hallway and things that you didn’t know you had floating around and crashing into the walls – the entire hallway was blocked off, so flash flooding is imminent. Get out.”

Severson has become an expert on how to respond to flooding, having experienced five in the past two years, but the flooding last August was by far the worst he had ever witnessed.

The big one was last August 28 I had five and a half feet of water in a year earlier, but this one the water was seven and a half feet high in the house.

Severson credits flood insurance for saving him and his family last August. The federal emergency management agency, FEMA, urges homeowners and renters in western Wisconsin to invest in flooding insurance. Even a small amount of water can be costly.

Whether it’s a major flood or just an inch of water flood insurance helps cover the cost of damage. That one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage.

As of June 30th of this year, there are 2,409 national insurance flooding policies in western Wisconsin. For Marty Severson he said it’s important to have flood insurance whether or not you’re at initial risk.

“I thought, that’s fine… It didn’t cost much. The water is 120-130 feet away. I never in my wildest imagination thought that I would ever get flooded at all, much less five times in two years.”

FEMA says for those eligible for flood insurance the nationwide average cost for flooding insurance is$ 900 a year.  And they recommend that homeowners and renters act now as it can take up to 30 days for the policy to take effect.

In Sparta – Hayley Spitler – First News at Nine

FEMA says the national flood insurance program is a voluntary one, which means the local community has to decide to join the program.  If your community is part of the NFIP, then anyone can purchase flood insurance.

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