About 30 percent of Louisiana’s property owners have flood insurance, according to Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon. That’s not nearly enough, Donelon told Advocate reporters and editors in a recent meeting.

“I tell Louisiana residents that every property owner should have flood insurance,” Donelon said.

The spectacular rise of the Mississippi River earlier this year alarmed many residents of south Louisiana. A significant number of homes in south Louisiana experienced flooding, although most homes in and around Baton Rouge were unharmed.

But the Mississippi’s rise this year, as well as the catastrophic flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, are reminders that sometimes, worst-case scenarios come true.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, is trying to dispel the myth that only residents of high-risk flood areas need to buy flood insurance. According to FEMA, nearly a fourth of the National Flood Insurance Program’s claims come from outside areas with high risk of flooding.

Those are numbers that Louisiana property owners who lack flood insurance should consider — and act upon.