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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

Why One Expert Says Flood Insurance Is A Good Bet, No Matter Where You Live in Texas

The National Guard photo by: Lt. Zachary West , 100th MPAD

One safeguard many people opt out of is flood insurance. This already powerful hurricane season has shown everyone the devastation rising waters can cause, and only two in 10 homeowners in Harvey’s path had flood insurance.


Insurance expert Burl Daniel, based in Fort Worth, explains the importance of having coverage across the state, including North Texas.

Interview Highlights: Burl Daniel…

...on flood insurance basics: “Most any homeowner can buy it. The typical policyholder is going to be located in a flood plain, all the way from a ‘once-in-a-hundred-year event to you’re on the beach and you’ve got a ‘V Zone,’ which is a velocity, the storm surge comes in and you’re going to flood in a hurricane, and everywhere in between.

"The risk is calculated by FEMA flood maps. Most insurance agents have access to flood insurance markets. The federal government is essentially the only market we have. Most of the program now is administered by what is known as a ‘write your own’ or a WYO and those are kind of name carriers that you would recognize that administer policy issue, underwriting and claims on behalf of NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program)."

…on who’s required to have it: “If you have a federally backed mortgage — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac — you’re required to carry it. Typically, as you put a contract on a house there will be a survey. Somebody will order a flood map, perhaps the title company or the lender, and you’re required to carry it as long as that mortgage is still enforced. Now, once you pay your mortgage off, I would encourage you to consider keeping that flood insurance policy. My understanding is if you are not in a flood plain, then federally backed mortgages do not require flood insurance.”

…on whether North Texans should carry flood insurance:  “We have quite a few flood zones up here. They tend to be a little bit narrower like a ribbon of a flood zone, rather than the entire city of Corpus Christi or Port Aransas, that’s you know, five feet above sea level. But yes, those people are subject to that. And there’s a lot of houses, less so now, and historically, there were houses built and they didn’t know it was a flood zone in the '50s, '60s. It’s not 80 percent perhaps, like parts of Houston, but we still have flood zones all over North Texas.”

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.