FEMA: all Minnesotans should get flood insurance - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

FEMA: all Minnesotans should get flood insurance

Zumbro Falls, Minn. (KTTC) -- As cities prepare sandbags for likely flooding, FEMA is urging all Minnesota homeowners and business owners to make sure they're also prepared with flood insurance.

There are several homeowners along the Zumbro river who learned the hard way.

Several homeowners who used to live on the main drag in Zumbro Falls are no longer living there.

They've either moved to higher ground or a whole other town.

Those who remain, most, now have flood insurance.

It's been about 5 months since an extended rain shower ended up washing away most of Zumbro Falls.

An unwelcoming front porch is a telling sign of who's returned home and who hasn't.

"12, 14, maybe 16 residents that aren't coming back."

Not Bob Sommerfield, though.

This 37-year Zumbro Falls resident refuses to move out of his town, although he did move across the street after his old house was condemned.

He says he would have been homeless if he didn't have flood insurance.

"After we got moved in that new home here, right away I put flood insurance right back on, 'cause I'm a firm believer in it now," says Sommerfield.

And FEMA is encouraging all homeowners and business owners take note, and purchase flood insurance before the spring flood season hits.

"If it can rain, it can flood. So it doesn't have to be the Mississippi river, the Minnesota river, or the Red river coming out of its banks to cause flood damage. It can be an intense rain over the frozen ground."

FEMA's David Schein says many homeowners don't realize flood insurance is not included in their homeowner insurance policy.

And he says many who try to purchase flood insurance complain that they don't qualify. Schein says that's not true for many Minnesota cities.

"Every licensed casualty agent in the state is automatically empowered to sell FEMA's flood insurance policy. Whether or not they do so is an individual choice of theirs. I encourage folks to get their own insurance agent up to speed on where flood insurance is available."

It's available in any town that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, and most do. The policy backs private companies from losing any money through the flood coverage.

For Bob Sommerfield, he says the money was worth it.

"I'd recommend it to anyone that lives along the river."

Schein says the average flood insurance premium in Minnesota costs about $663 a year.

Keep in mind, that number will vary on the quantity and type of coverage you get.

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