KUSA - Thousands of homeowners in Colorado could face a personal financial disaster because of the floods. Standard homeowner insurance policies don't cover damage from floods, and most homeowners in the state don't have separate flood insurance.
In Colorado, only 22,000 homes and businesses have flood insurance, according to FEMA. Most of those are residential policies, but only 10-percent to 25-percent of Colorado homes in high-risk flood areas have coverage.
For a comparison, in New Orleans and parts of Florida, coverage runs more like 50 percent to 60 percent.
In three Colorado counties hard hit by the floods, the percentage of single-family homes with flood insurance coverage is in the low single digits. Any homeowner who lives in a high-risk area with a mortgage backed by the federal government, most often through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, must have flood insurance.
But even homeowners with flood insurance may not have coverage for their homes' contents.
In 2012, Congress passed flood insurance reform, which called on FEMA to raise rates to reflect true flood risks and make the program more financially stable. That's scared a lot of consumers away.
The National Flood Insurance Program is the only issuer of the coverage, which can cost as much as $3,000 for a home in a high-risk zone. Coverage peaks at $250,000, but homeowners can purchase additional private coverage, which can be costly.
Consumers should consider flood insurance even if they're not in a mapped floodplain. Typically, 25 percent of damages occur outside of high-risk areas.
If you're waiting for flood clean up help from a private company, be patient. Some companies have waiting lists in the hundreds.
There are a lot of online resources to help you with cleanup and recovery. Check out http://bit.ly/14Z90Lq for good advice.
Most people are dealing with flooded basements. If the water was only ankle deep, make sure the electricity is not a problem and then pull everything out. Start sorting through the damage and bring in fans to dry it out.
If you have flood insurance, make sure you document everything and take lots of pictures.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)