Harvey is one of the costliest disasters in US history. Most of the victims have no flood insurance.

Tropical Storm Harvey, which destroyed thousands of homes and businesses across southeastern Texas, is now estimated to be one of the costliest disasters in American history, with damages that could exceed $100 billion.

Rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast, already expected to take years, will be complicated by the fact that fewer than one in five homeowners in the Houston area are insured against flood damage. Those without it could wait months, or years, to fund costly renovations themselves or receive government relief funds.

Even people with insurance are not in the clear as they will be dealing with a program that is mired in problems: The National Flood Insurance Program is nearly $25 billion in debt and will expire Sept. 30 if Congress does not extend it.

Lawmakers and experts are debating how to improve the program’s long-term financial outlook, which could include requiring more homeowners to buy flood insurance or discouraging people from rebuilding in areas that will see more storms.

Superstorm Sandy, which could not be covered through policyholders’ premiums. Today the program has $5.8 billion in borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury.

Payments from Harvey are expected to far exceed that limit.

Harvey swept through a swath of southeast Texas, triggering disaster declarations in 19 counties.

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