If You Live in a Flood Zone, Read This
Even if your home is not located on a shore or beach, you may be living in a flood zone. According to the Environmental Research Letter, over 41 million Americans are currently living in flood zones, and this includes seemingly landlocked locations. In the wake of last year’s particularly devastating hurricane season, Flood Insurance is at the forefront of many homeowners’ minds. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid over $8 billion to homeowners with flood insurance policies in 2017.
If your home search includes potential flood zones, consider these five actions.
- Flood Insurance is a Requirement Depending on the location, flood insurance can be a requirement. In high-risk flood zones, mortgage lenders require flood insurance. Please note, flood insurance is separate from the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Homeowner’s insurance will usually cover home damage, like a burst water pipe, but not heavy hurricane rains or other natural disasters.
- NFIP is Dependent on Congress Most recently, the NFIP was set to expire in July 2018. The federal program has operated since 1968 to offset individual flood insurance costs, but due to budgetary concerns in recent years Congress has had to vote on whether or not to extend it.
- Cost of Flood Insurance Depends on Location Homeowners who live in high-risk flood zones will pay more for flood insurance than homes that are more inland. But, over 20% of NFIP claims were filed by homeowners who lived outside of high-risk zones. Even if you’re not living in a coastal condo, climate change, manmade instances, and other flooding events may damage your property. 98% of the country has been impacted by flooding, even Death Valley has had dangerous flash floods.
- Consult a Professional Sellers are legally obligated to disclose flooding information, like whether or not the property has flooded previously. Whether you’re buying in a high-risk flood zone or not, consulting a real estate professional or insurance agent before you buy can prepare you for the cost of flood insurance and choose the right policy.
- Use Due Diligence If you’ve found the perfect home, and it’s in a high-risk flood zone, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and your property. Consult with a contractor or other construction professional about preventative measures or upgrades you can take to make your home more resistant to flood damage. With weather patterns becoming more unpredictable and the National Flood Insurance Program subject to political shifts, flood insurance is more important than ever. If you’re looking for a home in a flood zone or you’re not sure, consult a mortgage professional.