When the Floods Come, Will Your House Sink or Swim?

Flood Info - blogAccording to SunSentinel Florida properties make up 37 percent of flood insurance policies nationwide. Flood risk is a common concern among Central Florida home buyers and owners for a good reason, FEMA estimates that the average flood insurance policy costs about $700 per year. Policy rates in moderate-to-low risk areas are about half of the average.

So how important is flood insurance when purchasing a home?

For homes with the high-risk designation, there is a 25% chance during the course of a 30 year mortgage that the home will be flooded. High-risk homes with federally regulated or insured lender mortgages are legally required to purchase a flood insurance policy. It is highly recommended that moderate-to-low risk homes opt for flood insurance, although it is not legally required. Moderate-to-low areas claim a third of all U.S. disaster relief money every year.

What is the flood risk for a home in Central Florida?

The most likely risk scenario for a flood in Central Florida is a tropical storm or hurricane (or even a heavy rain). This is especially likely for storms that hang over the state for a few days. The ground cannot absorb the large amount of water and drainage becomes sluggish. The other scenario encountered in Central Florida is floods caused by new developments. As Metro Orlando grows, new homes and roads are built, meaning there is less ground for rain to accumulate. This type of flood might happen over a few hours.

Click here to see FEMA’s Flood Map of Central Florida. Once in the portal, select your area and click the view map on the left.

How can flood map changes affect rates? 

From time to time FEMA adjusts maps in order to protect home and business owners. These changes affect flood insurance rates in two different ways. When a change maps a home out of a risk area rates can be lessened by working with the insurance agent. If a change maps a home into a high-risk area a policy is required. In order to avoid paying high rates it is recommended a home owner purchase a Preferred Risk Policy before the new map changes, then maintain the policy with the Grandfather rule. Insurance agents work with home owners to check the best rates and options.Time is of the essence when securing a policy during a map change, most don’t go into effect until 30 days after they were purchased.