October 13, 2022
Living near water is often a desirable location, but not so nice when it’s creeping into your house. Water damage can be extremely destructive and expensive to repair. A single inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 in damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This doesn’t mean you should avoid buying a home in an area at risk of flooding, but you need to be prepared for the possibility.
FEMA maps different areas to designate their risk of flooding.
If your home is in a flood zone, your lender may require you to purchase flood insurance to protect your assets against the damages of flooding. Flood insurance is in addition to homeowner’s insurance and can be more expensive depending on the flood risk. Resell might also be a fact since it is often difficult to sell a property which requires flood insurance.
You can search your address from the FEMA website.
If your home is in a high-risk area, you will likely need an Elevation Certificate (EC). An Elevation Certificate documents important features of your property, including its location, flood zone, building characteristics, and more importantly, the elevation of its lowest floor. The Elevation Certificate is needed to know your building’s elevation compared to the estimated height floodwaters may reach in a major flood. This helps determine your flood risk and the cost of your flood insurance premium.
If you believe your property has been built high enough to avoid floodwaters, you may petition FEMA for a Letter of Map Amendment or Map Revision. You will be required to employ a survey of the property to confirm that the lowest level of the property sits above the elevation the floodwaters may reach in a major flooding event. This survey will be completed at the homeowner’s expense and could take up to 60 days for FEMA to process.