Importance of flood insurance as water levels continue to rise

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. -- As water levels rise, so do concerns of flooding.

Those who do not have flood insurance already may be clamoring for it now.

Insurance agents said for people at risk of flooding from the heavy rain and the Mississippi River's rising levels, the time to act is now.

For those living in high-risk areas, Jonathan McCain with McGowen Stitt Insurance said flood insurance is a must, and for some, it is even mandatory.

"If you have a mortgage on your house, and you live in a flood zone, they'll obviously require you to have that," McCain said.

On average, a flood insurance policy will run you about $600 a year, but the cost fluctuates a lot depending on where you live and the risk of floods.

McCain said the problem is many people think flood damage is included in their regular homeowners insurance, when that's not the case.

"Homeowners insurance is going to cover what you think of as water coming down from the sky," he said. "Flood covers from the ground up."

But with the water levels only expected to rise, McCain said you could run out of time.

"Most of the time by the time you hear of a flood coming, it's too late, because there's a 30-day waiting period on flood insurance."

More than 20 percent of flood claims are made on moderate- to low-risk areas.

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