SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Flooding is the country's number one natural disaster, yet many properties are not prepared.
David Passey, director of external affairs for FEMA Region 9, said an inch of flooding can result in $25,000 worth of damage.
It's $25,000 that people might have to pay out of pocket, since standard homeowners and renters insurance does not cover flood damage and the government isn't always able to help with the bill.
"The majority of disasters are never declared as federal disaster areas and therefore disaster programs aren't turned on," said Passey.
Most residential flood insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program.
"If you buy flood insurance tomorrow morning, then that policy becomes effective in 30 days," said Passey.
That means it could be too late to get coverage for the upcoming weekend storm. However, there are things people can do now, such as taking pictures of their property, having a communication plan with their family, turning off their utilities and avoiding trying to drive or walk through standing water.
"Every year, flooding causes more deaths than any other natural disaster, and the majority of those deaths are people who either drive or walk into flooding, (and) don't realize how deep it is and are swept away," said Passey.
FEMA wants people to know their zone, but they also want people to know that it can also flood outside the high-risk areas.
"40% of the flood claims that we've paid in earlier years have been in areas outside of high-risk flood zones," said Passey.
People can find information about their flood risk through FEMA's website by typing in their address and checking the legend to see where it falls.
For example, Natomas, well-known flood zone, is highlighted in blue and labeled as a "special flood hazard area." To find your area, click HERE.
FEMA said Sacramento County has some of the biggest discounts for flood insurance due to communities taking protective measures in the National Flood Insurance Program. Roseville pays the best rate in the country, earning a 45% reduction.
For more information on flood insurance, click HERE.