Lincoln County family paying sky-high flood insurance

Published: Jan. 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:45 AM CST
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When Tera Lambert and her family bought their Lincoln County home in 2007, they were not in a flood zone. Two creeks run behind her home.

"Then, in 2010 we got a letter from our mortgage company saying FEMA had redid the flood maps, now we were in a flood zone," Lambert says.

Lambert quickly learned that unincorporated parts of Lincoln County do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. For the past year and a half she's had to shell out big bucks for flood insurance through her mortgage lender.

"Right now we're paying $240 a month, but if we were in the National Flood Insurance Program it would be $400 per year," she says. "For the past 1 1/2 years, our supervisors of Lincoln County have been looking into the National Flood Insurance Program. But they have not joined it."

MEMA Spokesman Jeff Rent says the agency has made presentations to Lincoln County supervisors about the subsidized flood insurance program in the past. And there is cost involved.

"You would have to get a full time flood plain administrator. That would be a cost to the county. You'd have to weigh that against how many people would they really be governing," Rent says.

But there are risks for those governments and individuals that aren't part of the plan. "If you're not a participant, if there was a disaster, you may not be eligible for a number of the Federal grants through FEMA, like public assistance, individual assistance," Rent says.

Since Lambert lives in a flood plain, but doesn't have the subsidized flood insurance, she could not rely on FEMA if disaster struck. But anyone in Lincoln County that's not in a flood zone, could get the FEMA benefits.

Lambert hopes others in Lincoln County in the same situation will join her in urging the board of supervisors to sign on.

Lincoln County District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson says he's leery of the National Flood Insurance Program. He says it makes no sense that a family's flood insurance can drop from hundreds of dollars a month to $50 a month by having the subsidized insurance.

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