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3 min 30 sec Transcript
A levee breach devastated their Des Moines neighborhood. Without flood insurance, they would have lost everything.
Joel Lusk: My name is Joel Lusk. I live in Des Moines, Iowa. This area is called the Old Orchard Beach. I've lived here almost ten years now.
Jamie Lusk: My name is Jamie Lusk and I've lived in the area for four years with my husband, Joel.
Joel Lusk: I'm standing in the back yard behind the house and the levee is probably a hundred and fifty feet from the back of our house, two hundred feet from the back of our house.
Joel Lusk: I was going to have flood insurance because the guy before did and said it was a good idea, so I had the flood insurance. And with it only being about a hundred and fifty to two hundred feet from the house, you know it's something you wonder about especially when you get a lot of rain and things.
Joel Lusk: The river had been coming up and been coming up and was already on the levy, but when the breach actually happened the waters had started to recede and it washed out that part of the levy. And just within minutes it was in the neighborhoods.
Jamie Lusk: This is our neighborhood. Right here would be our street; actually our house is right here in this wooded area. We watched all this . . . this entire neighborhood be destroyed.
Joel Lusk: The water level probably got up here on the garage. Everything in the garage floated up and was floated around.
Joel Lusk: It was hard to believe. You worked so hard for something and that's what you have left. That's what Mother Nature leaves you.
Joel Lusk: I opened the front door and came in the house and saw everything [crying]. Everything was covered with mud and had floated around in here. I put it up with losing my parents as one of the worst things that has ever happened.
Joel Lusk: That's the only thing that saved us was having the flood insurance. There was only two of us in the neighborhood that had the flood insurance.
Jamie Lusk: What has changed now is . . . this house here is gone. They had no flood insurance. These two houses are gone, they had no flood insurance. Uhm . . . this house is still here but it's empty because the homeowner had no flood insurance.
Jamie Lusk: Our neighborhood was a ghost town. There weren't very many people down here. Uhm . . . they didn't know what to do.
Joel Lusk: We just called the insurance company and he came out and everything was a fast, simple process actually. It was actually one of the easiest things that we've . . . that I've had to deal with an insurance company for.
Joel Lusk: The result is we have pretty much a totally new home, except for the roof, the foundation, and the frame. Everything is new and rebuilt. Our contents were covered, because we have extra contents coverage.
Jamie Lusk: We were able to get down here and start rebuilding a lot quicker than our neighbors, because we had the flood insurance.
Joel Lusk: The flood insurance cost -- was approximately $250 a year, approximately. And then that's why I said over the ten years it was $2,500.
Joel Lusk: My advice would be to have flood insurance. it's well worth it. If you live in an area that could be c=flooded or near a levee, I would suggest as long as you can afford it and it is very affordable, have flood insurance. We have a home and our stuff now, because we had flood insurance and so many people were left with nothing.
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500 C Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20472
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U.S. Department of Homeland Security