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Heartbreak for some in Colo. with no flood policy

DENVER — Jessica Klauzer-Zimmerman and her children have been sleeping on friends' couches since floodwaters sloshed into her Boulder townhouse — which wasn't covered by flood insurance.

"We were told we didn't need it because we didn't live on the flood plain," said Klauzer-Zimmerman, a single mom with three kids.

Now she and thousands of other Coloradans who didn't buy flood policies for their homes, businesses or farms could face huge costs to clean up or rebuild after last week's deadly and devastating floods in the mountains, foothills and eastern plains.

And they might be dismayed to learn that aid from the government is limited and focused primarily on getting them temporary help with renting a new place or paying for relatively minor repairs on their homes.

For those who lack flood insurance to cover bigger, longer-term costs, their only option might be a low-interest government loan or community-based relief groups.

"It's really a heartbreaking situation for these people," said Eric Weedin, an insurance agent in Larimer County whose agency has seen a spike in calls from frantic homeowners. "A lot of people don't have the assets or the savings to repair their house."

More than 7,200 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in Larimer and Boulder counties, the hardest-hit areas of Colorado, according to county officials. But fewer than 6,000 home and business owners in those two counties had flood insurance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It wasn't known how many of the insured homes and businesses suffered flood damage. Boulder and Larimer counties have a total of 606,000 residents and 261,000 housing units.

Statewide, only about 22,000 homeowners have flood insurance policies, FEMA spokesman Jerry DeFelice said. With 2.2 million housing units in Colorado, that means about 1 percent of the state's residences have flood coverage.

Heartbreak for some in Colo. with no flood policy 09/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 11:18pm]
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