INTERACTIVE: More than 40 years of flood data in South Dakota

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Fewer South Dakotans are paying for flood insurance, KELOLAND Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer reports.

The national flood policies have been shrinking over that last few years in South Dakota.

South Dakota had 5,661 in 2012, according to the national program. They steadily fell year after year to 3,723 in 2017.

National flood insurance costs an average of about $700 per year. However, Mercer reports a policy can range from about $400 to about $1,600.

Even then it won’t cover losses of personal belongings, carpet or drapes in the basement, a state official said, but it will reimburse some money for furnaces and water heaters.

A Sioux Falls man learned that all too well in March.

Todd Jones lives near Lotta Street, one of the hardest-hit areas in Sioux Falls during the spring flooding. His basement was underwater and a wall collapsed.

His belongings weren’t covered.

“Flood insurance typically covers what’s above grade, meaning above ground-level,” insurance agent Dean Karsky said. “So if you’re worried about your basement flooding, and you buy flood insurance policy, you will have some coverage. You won’t have coverage for carpeting or personal property.”

Homeowners and renters insurance usually doesn’t cover flood damage, so that’s why people consider flood insurance.

South Dakota has seen several Presidential Disaster Declarations requested by Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) this year.

Those allow for FEMA disaster grants for certain areas. The grants average about $5,000 per household. Meanwhile, flood insurance claims average $69,000.

If you got a FEMA grant this year and live in a high-risk flood zone, you must have flood insurance to be considered for future disaster aid.