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Only 15 to 20 percent of Corpus Christi and Houston homeowners are insured for flooding, according to a state insurance group.

Harvey's devastation is said to have caused as much $30 billion in damage to homes - according to early estimates reported by the New York Times - only 40 percent of which may be covered by insurance. Not so, says Hunter.

Q: How is flood risk determined?

The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire September 30, and even before Harvey, Congress was struggling to right a program that was already more than $24 billion in debt - and had little additional capacity to cover the losses on the scale expected from Harvey.

The bill also specifies that consumers who choose to leave the NFIP to purchase private insurance won't lose continuous coverage status if they have either an NFIP or private policy, which stakeholders say is critical to ensuring consumers aren't unfairly penalized for shopping for better policy options in the private market.

As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey continue to dump rain on both southeast Texas and Louisiana, bringing further deluge to the city of Houston, people will soon be faced with the task of cleaning up, and recovering, which could take years. For that, you need separate coverage from the federally run National Flood Insurance Program. With little more than a month before expiration, it may be a tall order to rewrite the national program while losses from Harvey are still coming in. However, insuring a home in a low-risk area to protect against a once-in-a-500-year flood can cost as low as $500 a year.

"In the world of insurance, just being close enough or having almost enough money to pay your claims is not sufficient".

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Neither Northbrook-based Allstate nor State Farm is making damage projections, but both firms have lots of policyholders in Harvey-ravaged areas, and the companies already have deployed thousands of claims specialists. As such, it's a good idea to keep receipts for this fix work as evidence of the costs involved.

Beware of fly-by-night contractors who offer to fix your home. Also make sure to record the dates and times, and details of any phone conversations.

But most homeowners insurance don't cover flooding. "And then when it happens, it's a disaster and you're not covered".

The program has a $30 billion borrowing limit, and with massive new claims coming in from Harvey, congressional action will be needed to raise the ceiling. "Because of the size and magnitude of this flooding, we need to come to the sober reality that this is going to be a long-time process".

The program has always been a federal backstop for areas prone to flooding, providing coverage to homeowners when insurance companies won't.

"It was over $85,000 just to fix our house". FEMA gives out two types of assistance: public (which goes to governments) and individual (checks directly to individuals to cover damages).


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