When should you shell out for flood insurance?

Rising Waters

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — With all the rising water around West Michigan, from the Great Lakes to inland lakes, it’s no surprise that some is ending up in yards or even homes. Depending on what’s covered and not covered in your insurance plan, you could end up paying big bucks.

Bruce Ling keeps a close eye on the Grand River. A water gauge sits right outside his back window along Abrigador Trail in Comstock Park, north of Grand Rapids.  

“I’ve had water in my home. I had another home here on the trail that we lost in the historic flood of 2013, and I had water in my home twice. So it wasn’t my first rodeo,” Ling said.

The April 2013 flooding forced he and his neighbors to canoe to and from their homes.

“Just about everybody here on the road on the trail had some sort of insurance claim in,” said Ling.

But many didn’t have flood insurance — and still don’t.

>>App users: 2013 flood coverage from Comstock Park

Integrity Insurance owner Doug Warsen said that in 38 years in the business, he has sold probably only about 10 flood policies. 

“When we have a customer that we know is in a particular area we’ll certainly bring it up, but there’s extra costs involved so if they haven’t had a problem in the past, they aren’t apt to spend more money,” Warsen said. “There’s a lot of variables that go into that, but it could easily be another $500 a year and up from there depending on the amount of coverage and everything.”

Tacking on flood insurance it could up your policy from a few hundred a year to well over $1,000. 

“Since 2013, the price increased like 250%.  They jacked it right up,” Ling said.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Rising Waters

While flood insurance is not federally required, if you live in a moderate- to low-risk flood area, your lender may require it.

As for who’s responsible for all the water damage, Warsen says it’s difficult to get a city or township to take on the costs, including for problems caused by sewer backups.

“In what I’ve experienced, there’s some law where they (city/township officials) don’t have to pay for that. It’s up to the homeowner to pay for those things,” Warsen said.

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