Thousands Of Harvey Victims Might Not Have Flood Insurance

Thousands Of Harvey Victims Might Not Have Flood Insurance
Standard homeowners policies don't cover flood damage, and many property owners don't buy additional coverage.

Hurricane Harvey brought record-breaking rain and unprecedented flooding to Texas. An estimated 30,000 people in southeast Texas may need temporary shelter. 

But thousands of property owners may lack the insurance they need to pay for their repairs.

Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies don't cover flood damage. Instead, people can buy separate flood insurance policies through the federal government or through a handful of private insurers.

That federal program requires people who live in what's deemed a Special Flood Hazard Area to have flood insurance.

Federal data shows about 13 percent of people in Harris County, which includes Houston, live inside an insurance-mandated zone.

For everyone else, flood insurance is an option, and many people opt not to buy it.

The CEO of Farmers Insurance Group told CNBC only about one in four of its policyholders chooses to buy flood insurance.

Some families could get relief from the federal government. After Hurricane Katrina, the government made $16.7 billion available to help rebuild housing and other infrastructure. And the Department of Housing and Urban Development already announced it'll offer mortgage and foreclosure relief to certain families in impacted counties.

But we still don't know how much damage Harvey will leave behind. Forecasters expect rain to continue in Texas and Louisiana for the next few days.