"NEW YORK — Homeowners suffering flood damage from Harvey are more likely to be on the hook for losses than victims of prior storms — a potentially crushing blow to personal finances and neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast.
Insurance experts say only a small fraction of homeowners in Harvey’s path of destruction have flood insurance. That means families with flooded basements, soaked furniture and water-damaged walls will have to dig deep into their pockets or take on more debt to fix up their homes. Some may be forced to sell, if they can, and leave their communities.
“All these people taken out in boats, they have a second problem: They have no insurance,” said Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.
Harvey made landfall in Texas late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered off the coast, dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm. Hunter expects flood damage alone from the storm to cost at least $35 billion, about what Katrina cost. But in that 2005 hurricane about half of flooded homes were covered by flood insurance.
With Harvey, only two of 10 homeowners have coverage, Hunter estimates."