Funding for National Flood Insurance Program runs dry

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hurricane season is now underway, but anyone who is looking to purchase flood insurance will find they're out of luck.

Funding for the National Flood Insurance Program has run dry and insurance agents aren't writing any new policies.

Elizabeth Lester with Statewide Insurance said this is not the first time funding has run out.

"The National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by FEMA, has lapsed due to Congress not reauthorizing the program," Lester said. "It's the third time that it's lapsed this year."

Lester said the program lapsed in February, once in March and again at the end of May.

She says if you don't have flood insurance right now, you're stuck in a hard spot until Congress returns to session and passes the bill. However, she says when that happens, everyone should start looking into a policy.

"It's very important," Lester said. "Not a lot of people realize that everyone in this area [is] in a flood zone. A lot of times they are told by their mortgage company that they're not in flood zones, but everyone is. It just depends on if it's a high risk or a low risk flood hazard area."

Lester also added that when flood insurance is available again, there is still a 30 day waiting period before coverage will kick in.

Jim Showalter, who is a flood insurance policy holder in Myrtle Beach, said he wanted to move all of his policies under one agent, and that's when he ran into a problem.

"Come to find out, I could not do it at this time. [I] couldn't change over the flood insurance," said Showalter.

Showalter said he couldn't make that change because of a lack of funding for the program.

"Anyone that tries to get flood insurance right now cannot get it until Congress passes the bill," Showalter said. "They cannot make any changes to their policy and they can't renew it unless they've already got the renewal."

He said lawmakers should make sure the bill passes quickly in the next session so everyone can be prepared this hurricane season.

"Maybe Congress will actually do their job and pass the bill," said Showalter.

Congress is set to return on June 7.

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