MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — With heavy rains drenching parts of Alabama, flooding has become an issue in many communities.   

Flood insurance is something many Alabamians don’t think about until it’s too late. But according to Alabama EMA Deputy Director Jonathan Gaddy, it should be a priority for every homeowner.

“There is a risk really for everyone in the state of Alabama,” Gaddy said.

According to the EMA’s website, only 57,000 out of 1.8 million homes in Alabama have flood insurance.

“That really is the only option you have for a flood damage event. So, if you don’t have flood insurance, the likelihood is you’re not going to be covered and you’re going to have to out of pocket those expenses,” Gaddy said.

He also said that many people still think their traditional homeowner’s insurance covers flood damage. But it doesn’t. They also are likely to believe that if a flood happens, getting help from FEMA and the federal government will be easy, which it’s not.

“The assistance the state sometimes qualifies for and receives through FEMA first off is hard to get, we really do have to suffer a true disaster with a lot of catastrophic losses to qualify for any of that assistance,” Gaddy said.

The best approach is to simply call your insurance company. Find out how prone to flooding the area you live in is and decide from there.

“Most of the flood insurance provided in the United States is through the National Flood Insurance Program and that’s backed by the US government,” Gaddy said.   

And remember, homeowners in a high-risk flood zone must buy flood insurance if they have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender.