More than 22,000 Texans battered by flooding over the last two years settled claims with the National Flood Insurance Program for over $1 billion, disaster recovery officials said today. Severe storms and flooding over the last two years resulted in six federal disaster declarations in Texas, affecting more than half of the state’s 254 counties, many on multiple occasions. Residents are still picking up the pieces from flood-related disaster declarations in March, April and May-June this year.

When the rains, hurricanes, and floods come, please be prepared.

About 100,000 individuals and families registered with FEMA for federal assistance during the 2015-2016 recovery. Only a small percentage received the agency’s maximum award of $33,000, for losses likely much greater. The average FEMA grant for the May-June floods was about $6,800.

Those with flood insurance and who filed claims in the last two years received an average settlement of about $57,000.  There doesn’t have to be a federal disaster declaration to file a claim; in fact, most floods do not result in disaster declarations.

Most Texans Lack Flood Policies

Flooding is the most common U.S. disaster as well as the costliest natural disaster. Yet most Texans lack flood insurance, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. Less than 25 percent of the state’s homeowners are covered, despite the risks.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, but the NFIP does. Funded by FEMA, NFIP makes flood insurance available for communities that participate in the program, regardless of whether the area is high, low, or medium risk. Check the Community Status Book to see if your community is already an NFIP partner.

NFIP carries a maximum coverage of $250,000 for homes and $100,000 for contents. Business coverage is a maximum of $500,000 for building and $500,000 for contents.

In nearly all cases, it takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the storm approaches and the floodwaters start to rise.

To learn more about any property’s flood risk, estimate an NFIP premium or locate an insurance agent who sells flood insurance, go to www.floodsmart.gov. For flood information and safety tips visit www.ready.gov/floods. Find the Spanish-language website at www.listo.gov.