Close to 80% of homeowners in Houston did not have any flood insurance when hurricane Harvey hit two years ago. This is a frightening statistic when it comes to the number of homes damaged.
Most homeowners don’t realize that their home insurance doesn’t cover any damage due to flooding. Whether your home is in a flood zone or not, there is always a risk that your home could flood.
If you’re asking yourself, “How do I know if my property is in a flood zone?” Then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll teach you how to determine if you need flood insurance for your home.
What is a Flood Zone?
These are areas that are known to become flooded due to their location. They are more at risk of flooding during extreme weather or other disasters. If your home is in a flood zone then your lender will require you to have flood insurance. It is also legally required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
There are different levels of flood zones depending on the level of risk that a flood could occur. If you are purchasing a home it is important to check and see if the home is in a flood zone first.
How Do I Know if My Property is in a Flood Zone?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers an easy online tool to help you check your property and the surrounding area for flood zones. The Flood Map Service Center is free to use and makes it easy to search for any address.
The interactive map allows you to look at topographical and infrastructural features like levees, coastal barriers, and the base flood line. If you are having difficulty decoding some of the information, FEMA offers a map key and also indicates an “Area of Minimal Flood Hazard.”
There are different zones that are marked depending on the level of risk for flooding. Zones B, X (shaded and unshaded) as well as C, are used for areas of moderate to low risk.
FEMA provides a complete list of the different flood zone designations as well as their meanings.
Who Needs Flood Insurance?
It is true that if your property is within a flood zone you will be required to have flood insurance but that isn’t the only reason to have flood insurance.
Believe it or not, many homeowners do not have any flood insurance. This could be a problem if the flood zones in your area are inaccurate. The government does its best to determine flood zones but there’s always a chance they are wrong.
Just because a home hasn’t flooded in the past, doesn’t mean flooding will never occur at that location. If it does happen and you’re not covered, you will be paying for damages out of pocket.
In some cases, unexpected natural disasters such as hurricanes, cause devastating flooding that reaches well beyond the flood zones. Although the NFIP does offer flood insurance it caps out at $250,000 for homes and $500,000 for commercial properties. Renters can also buy flood insurance from NFIP.
Protect Your Home
We hope these tips have helped your answer the question, “How do I know if my property is in a flood zone?” Although FEMA’s zones are helpful, they are always accurate. You may want to consider flood insurance regardless.
If you’re looking for more ways to protect your investments, check out our site.