FEMA urges people to invest in flood insurance

Madison, Wis (WMTV) -- In light of Wisconsin’s historic flooding one year ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants you to stay one step ahead of any future flooding.

Gilda's Club, a cancer support community, had to close immediately after the flood for water removal and restoration last year. The organization said their director got flood insurance long before it happened because they wanted to be safe and not sorry.

"Where we're standing right now, we'd have to be scuba diving because this was all completely underwater," Lindsey Dalton, Madison Gilda's Club Development Director said.

Gilda's Club's basement is dedicated to children who have a caregiver living with cancer.

"The kids come and have their own support group where they can talk about what they're going through," Dalton said.

She said normally the rooms in the basement of the clubhouse are filled with smiles and laughter, but a year ago they were filled with 500,000 gallons of water

"It was overwhelming,” she said.

Organization officials said the water was sitting at 12 feet. Everything that was in the basement was ruined, and it was $1.5 million worth of damage.

Because they had flood insurance, the organization said they were only responsible for the deductible.

"The flood insurance saved us. Without it we would not be here today," Dalton said.

Insurance agents define a flood event as a situation where the water covers two properties, and it doesn't have to come from a body of water.

"Flood insurance covers everything a home insurance policy doesn't. That is overland water coming through a window or a foundation or coming through a door. We've had people say that it came through a garage door and came through the houses," Steve Aune, American Family Insurance Agent said.

He said it's important for both home owners and business owners to get flood insurance because if not, it can cost you later.

"Debris removal, cleanup, getting everything out of your house and where you can live in it again, that's a minimum of $30,000," Aune said.

Home and business owners can buy flood coverage from FEMA or buy a private policy. Because the options are different, representatives said it’s best to call your local agent for more information.