Hurricane Ian Exposes Flood Insurance

Oct 31, 2022

Florida homeowners had reduced their flood insurance coverage in the years before Hurricane Ian dumped up to 15 inches of rain on the state, inundating coastal and inland areas.

Only a small number of residences in two of Florida’s hardest-hit inland counties are covered by flood insurance. The percentage of protected homes is higher in coastal areas that sustained the most damage, but still, is over 50% in just one of the affected counties, according to an analysis by Neptune Flood, a private-sector flood-insurance provider.

In all locations pummeled by Ian, the percentage of homes covered by flood policies is down from five years ago.

The widespread lack of flood insurance will force many people to seek federal disaster assistance in the form of grants and loans. This will slow efforts to rebuild as people patch together funds.

Why Don’t Many Florida Homeowners Have Flood Insurance?

Hurricane Ian, like many prior disasters, impacted people who thought they were living in a safe area. One reason for this is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood insurance requirements don’t capture current risk. Flood insurance is required for homeowners who have a federally backed mortgage and live in designated high-risk flood areas. Those areas are based on FEMA’s flood maps, which are often outdated and don’t account for the increased risk of catastrophic events due to climate change.

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