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South County residents without help from insurance, MSD after Mother's Day flooding

Indian Hills subdivision cleans up after basements fill with water in minutes.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — It's kind of a St. Louis rite of passage to have your basement flood. 

When it happens to you for the first time, who do you call? Insurance? Metropolitan Sewer District? Well, this time, calling either one won't help you at all.

"It was coming up from the basement and was starting to trickle through all the windows and then just started to burst through the windows," Indian Hills resident Pat Herzing told 5 On Your Side. 

Herzing's Mother's Day, ruined by Mother Nature, "All I could think, is this is a nightmare," she said. 

In the moment, definitely ... but in the aftermath even more of a mess, which is why Herzing's son emailed 5 On Your Side. 

"I feel kind of powerless," Herzing's son, Nathan Bagby, told 5 On Your Side. "I live five hours north outside of Chicago and it's not easy for me to get down there."

Bagby is mad because insurance won't cover a cent of the damage. 

Herzing says her insurance is not covering any damages because, "I don't live in a flood plain so there's no provision in our insurance policy for flooding of any sort."

5 On Your Side checked with local insurance agent Brennan Sowa. Sowa confirmed that most major companies will not sell flood insurance to a home not in a FEMA flood plain. There are other options, but they can be expensive. 

Now if it's a sewer backup, MSD will cover it. Herzing says there is no doubt Sunday was a backup, "This was a backup, it was coming up as well as coming in."

It may have been a backup, but not one the Metropolitan Sewer District is taking responsibility for. 

"There was a colossal amount of rainfall," Sean Stone with MSD Project Clear told 5 On Your Side. "Our investigation here does not show that the storm sewers weren't open and flowing, there was simply just more water than could fit in the pipes at one time."

"What happened in Indian Hills was a 500-year flood," Stone added.

He says historic flooding is occurring more frequently, a probable result of climate change.

For Herzing, there's no coverage from MSD and no help from insurance. She's on the hook for between $10,000 to $12,000 and that's not even including the cost of ServPro, an expert repair service for damaged property. 

Cost in the thousands is a price her son doesn't think she should have to shoulder alone. 

"I really feel like it's just a major failing of the insurance industry to wiggle out of this sort of thing," Bagby said. "I feel like if they can deny this, what else can they try to deny."

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