Flood insurance out of reach for many businesses in Planada

Flood insurance out of reach for many businesses in Planada

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — A study by the ABC Owned Television Stations Group shows many Americans with homes and businesses at risk of flooding in the next thirty years don’t have flood insurance.

That includes many people impacted by the winter storms here in Central California.

A clear sunny day in Planada could lead you to believe the winter floods are a distant memory, but clean-up and repairs are still happening around town.

“I just think about that time, and it’s awful,” said Deanna Adame, Deanna’s Hair Salon. “This is my baby, you know?”

The January floods are still fresh in Deanna Adame’s mind.

The flood water threatened to wash away the business she’d spent more than three decades building.

As she helps one of her regular customers in the tidy salon, you could mistakenly think she’s done rebuilding, but she said there is still plenty more work to be done.

“I just had somebody come out and try to give me estimates on gutters,” said Adame. “You know, getting on the wood that I need to put on the back. There’s still some, like, little cracks that water could end up going underneath my building.”

She and other business owners said they’re still hoping for help from the town and county, but right now and in the foreseeable future, they’re footing the entire bill that seems to keep growing.

“Oh god, I don’t even want to know,” said Adame. “All I know is my credit cards are all charged back up. I was so close to paying off my debt, and now it’s back.”

“I would say at least 200, 250 thousand,” said Omar Odeh, Planada Variety & Discount Store. “Maybe more.”

Odeh has owned the Planada Variety & Discount Store since 2019. He said he never anticipated needing flood insurance, and it would be too expensive to maintain.

After January’s flooding, Odeh worries it may be even farther out of reach.

“The deductibles are very high, and if we want to get it now, now it’s kind of too late because if it was high, then it’s going to be higher now, and a lot of insurance companies are going to deny you because they’re in the zone of high risk,” said Odeh.

Data analysis by the ABC Owned Television Stations found as many as 16 million homes and businesses are at major risk of flooding in the next 30 years and have no flood insurance.

Merced County is considered a major flood risk.

The analysis shows more than 40% of all the properties are at major risk, more than 7% are at severe risk, and only 13% of those at-risk properties are insured.

Even if Adame and Odeh had insurance, the study shows flood policyholders still end up paying more than 7 thousand dollars out of pocket and taking out loans.

If they want to survive other floods, Odeh said they’ll need help from the county.

“Right now, I’m barely staying afloat in business and just trying to survive this and see if the county is willing to help us; they haven’t yet,” said Odeh.

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