Flood Insurance for Western Mass homeowners - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Flood Insurance for Western Mass homeowners

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The flood waters following Tropical Storm Irene has taken a toll on many Western Mass residents still trying to rebuild after the tornado. Now, they may have to start from scratch after flood waters destroyed their homes.

Local Realtor Kevin Sears says, "It could actually cause a total loss for the property. Because once the water recedes, not only is there cleanup but there is potential for hazardous problems with mold and that sort of thing."

It draws attention to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire at the end of September. The program is responsible for writing and renewing flood insurance policies for more than 5.6 million home and business owners in 20,000 communities.

Sears says, "It's a little-known fact. But when a hurricane or tropical storm comes through, only the wind damage is covered. Not the water damage on a regular homeowner's insurance policy. So all of the folks who have been affected, if they don't have flood insurance, they will not have the protection to be able to rebuild their lives."

So if Congress doesn't act soon to renew the program, local realtors say it could put hundreds of home closings throughout the state in jeopardy. The reason, some realtors believe, is that potential buyers will become "storm weary."

President of the Pioneer Valley Realtors Association, Vincent Walsh says "Flood insurance is critical because many sections of Springfield and surrounding communities are in or near flood zones even if it is just when a hurricane comes through. So people have to know they have flood insurance available to them at a reasonable cost."

Congress is expected to vote on the national flood insurance program within the next few weeks.

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