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Posted: September 27, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Flood Coverage: State estimates loss at over $250 million

Residents should call with flood damage

By Brittany Thomas/

Property damage: This house, located off Brown Bridge Road, was one of the homes in Newton County wrecked by the flood.

According to the office of Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, flood losses have been estimated at $250 million, most of which is uninsured.

Because so much of the damage to homes came from rising waters, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the damage, and since many Georgia homeowners’ were not required to carry flood insurance on their homes the damage is uninsured.

"While a standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage from a variety of perils, it does not cover damage from flooding," according to a press release from Oxendine’s office. "A separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program, and can only be purchased if your community participates in the national program. However, some mobile home policies may cover damage caused by floods."

Although many homeowners’ may not be insured residents in Newton County are eligible to received federal assistance. Newton County was declared a Federal Disaster Area on Friday night.

"We are pleased that FEMA recognized the need for and approved the state’s request, which will facilitate recovery efforts of families and businesses in these six counties," said Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) Director Charley English.

Residents and business owners that have sustained losses can apply for individual assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-FEMA between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other more serious disaster-related expenses.

Inspectors will be back in the county this week to continue their inspection of the areas affected by flood waters. Crowell Road is closed due to a sinkhole and significant erosion, as is the bridge at Brown Bridge Road on what Newton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan calls a "semi-permanent basis."

"They could be closed for three days; they could be closed for 30," she said. "We’ll have to look at the other roads as water recedes to see what shape they are in."

According to Covington-Newton County 911 Director Mike Smith, citizens who need to report flood damage should call (678) 625-1622 and leave their information on the recording so they can be contacted when inspections resume.

At 5:07 p.m. Saturday the National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated a strong group of storms were heading toward Newton County. The radar estimated that between 1.0 and 1.5 inches of rain would fall in the area and could result in flooding of low-lying and flood prone areas. A flash flood remained in effect throughout Saturday evening.

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