LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — With historic flooding impacting thousand of Arkansans across the River Valley, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning residents that “scam artists see disaster as an opportunity to steal from those in need.”
“(T)here are insurance options to help Arkansans navigate future threats of flooding disasters, but consumers should be mindful of the limitations and requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program,” Rutledge said.
Rutledge offered five tips residents should keep in mind as they clean up after the floodwaters recede:
- Flood insurance policies are not instantly effective and generally require 30 days before they become effective;
- Consult with an insurance agent to purchase a flood insurance policy, and beware of insurance agents that accept the filing of a claim before purchasing a policy;
- Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not include flood insurance, and flood insurance must be purchased as a separate policy;
- Properties that have been flooded in the past may obtain flood insurance policies;
- The price of flood insurance may vary based upon the risk of flooding at the property location.
Residents who have additional questions about flood insurance should contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at 800-482-8982 or 501-682-2007 or the Arkansas Insurance Department at 800-282-9134 or 501-371-2600.
“My heart aches for the many who have and will suffer losses as the Arkansas River continues to rise to record levels this week,” Rutledge said.
Governor Asa Hutchinson and several other lawmakers took a birds-eye view from the Garrison Ave. Bridge of flooding along the Arkansas River Thursday (May 30).
The tour allowed the elected leaders to see the record flooding at Toad Suck, Dardanelle, Ozark, Trimble Lock and Dam, Van Buren and Fort Smith.
Lawmakers said it will take weeks until the flood water recedes and after it does, some residents will be able to return to their homes to assess the damage.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently on the ground and will be a part of the flood assessment team whenever the water recedes.
The floods have shut down barge traffic on the Arkansas River, causing the state to lose $23 million a day.
Thousands of acres of farmland have been destroyed during the disaster, and it’s unclear at this time what kind of impact on the state’s economy the loss of crops will be.
Congressman Steve Womack told 5NEWS that a federal relief funding bill should pass on Monday after being tied up in Congress.
The Arkansas River has passed the all-time highest river level of 38.1 feet set in May of 1945.
The river reached a crest of just under 40.26 feet Wednesday morning but will crest again around midnight late Thursday into Friday at 40.5 feet according to new National Weather Service projections.