Flood insurance poses dilemma

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Charlotte Jones hopes the saying about bad things coming in three's is true.

Last summer, the barn at her Bald Knob farm burned down, destroying thousands of dollars in tobacco. A few months ago, someone stole her husband's pickup truck from their driveway.

And when flash floods swept through the rural Franklin County community on Aug. 22, the Jones house was ransacked.

"We've kind of had a black cloud floating over us," said Jones in an interview with The State Journal. "Don't get me wrong. We've had so much help. I was inside the house (when the flood hit). My house could have been carried away."

Now, Jones said, the biggest cloud hovering over her family is flood insurance.

Her husband, Elic, tried years ago to purchase flood insurance, after a neighbor was killed by flooding in the area. But, according to Jones, their insurance agent at Farm Bureau told them they didn't qualify.

After the Aug. 22 flood, Jones inquired about flood insurance once more, only to be told the same thing.

"Maybe we had some miscommunication, but he (the insurance agent) stood right there and said I couldn't purchase flood insurance," said Jones. "I know that's what he said."

Reached by telephone, a Farm Bureau representative, who would not give his name, declined comment.

But according the Federal Emergency Management Agency, local officials and several insurance companies, anyone can purchase flood insurance. The only thing that varies, they said, is price, and that is determined by an area's flood risk.

It seems simple enough. But for Jones, and others, finding how and where to buy flood insurance has been anything but easy.

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