By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
Here in Oklahoma, we know all too well the damage flooding causes and the danger it presents. In May 2019, Oklahomans saw some of the worst flooding in history after 17 tornadoes struck the state in one day. The storm carried 5 to 6 inches of rainfall, causing the tragic loss of lives and significant financial damage. Flooding devastated thousands of Oklahomans, resulting in more than $31 million in estimated losses. In addition, more than 6,000 flood claims were reported, yet far too many storm victims did not have flood insurance.
March is Flood Insurance Awareness Month in Oklahoma. I want to remind Oklahomans to get ready before spring flooding and consider getting flood insurance coverage now. Here are three reasons why now is a great time to learn more about the importance and benefits of flood insurance.
You live in Oklahoma. Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. 90% of natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding. While most standard homeowners policies cover tornadoes, hail, and wildfires, they do NOT cover floods. You are 27 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire during a 30-year mortgage.
30-day waiting period. It typically takes 30 days for a flood policy to go into effect, so the time to buy is well before a disaster. That is why you need to purchase or renew flood insurance well in advance. Waiting until you see the water rushing in is too late. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or through private insurance. Talk to your agent today.
Cost of flooding. Flooding can be an emotionally and financially devastating event. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an inch of water in a home could cause more than $25,000 in damages. About 33% of all flood claims come from outside of high-risk areas. In 2021, the average flood insurance claim payment through NFIP was $44,050, while Oklahoma’s average flood insurance premium was $81 a month.
While we cannot prevent another flood from occurring, we can get our state financially prepared for the damage when it hits. This month let’s make sure Oklahomans understand their flood risk. As I always like to remind folks—If it rains where you live, it can flood where you live.
For more insurance information, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at