There are some important factors to consider when buying a home in a flood zone. Knowing your FEMA flood zone designation and speaking to one of our flood insurance experts can help you evaluate the flood risk for your potential new home. In this blog, we’ll explore what it means to purchase a house in a flood zone.
What is a Flood Zone?
A flood zone is a geographic area designated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) based on its susceptibility to flooding. These flood zones are labeled from A to X, with high-risk areas typically starting with A or V. These areas are part of the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). During a 30-year mortgage, these areas have a 1 in 4 chance of flooding. You may also see them labeled as being in a “100-year flood zone”, but this designator is misleading as many of these flood zones can experience flooding multiple years in a row.
Low to moderate-risk areas typically begin with B, C, or X. However, this does not mean there is zero risk. According to FEMA, one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding goes toward these zones.
Determine Your Flood Zone
You can use our Flood Zone Lookup tool to determine the flood zone for your home.
Can you Change your Flood Zone?
If you believe your flood zone designation is incorrect, you can appeal to FEMA to have it changed. This typically requires a survey for an elevation certificate, which may cost you between $800 to $3,000. You will also need to complete a FEMA form called a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR). However, in most cases, FEMA is unlikely to change your flood zone, and it’s often a waste of time and money.
Getting a Mortgage in a Flood Zone.
If you’re obtaining a government-backed loan for a home in an SFHA area, flood insurance will likely be required by your mortgage company. When budgeting for your new home, it is important to factor the cost of flood insurance into the equation. FloodPrice can help you shop for a low-priced flood policy to protect your home.
Private Flood Insurance vs. the NFIP
When evaluating how to protect your home from flood damage, understanding the differences between private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is crucial.
Private Flood Insurance
Private flood insurance is offered by insurance companies outside the government-run NFIP. One of its primary advantages is the flexibility to tailor coverage to your specific needs. Private insurance companies offer some advantages for coverage limits and coverage options that are not available from the NFIP, such as:
Additional Living Expense coverage to help pay for hotels and meals if your home is uninhabitable due to flood damage.
Higher coverage limits than the NFIP, whose maximum dwelling coverage limit is $250,000.
Basement contents coverage options.
NFIP Government-Backed Flood Insurance
The NFIP, administered by FEMA, offers standardized flood insurance coverage. If your home has been previously damaged by flood, the NFIP may be the best option. However, while the NFIP provides a baseline level of protection for homeowners in flood-prone areas, its coverage limits might not meet your needs. With fewer coverage options, and a policy that is typically more expensive, a Private Flood Policy may be a better option.
For a more in-depth look, visit our page dedicated to the topic: NFIP vs Private Flood Insurance.
Finding the Right Flood Insurance
Choosing between private flood insurance and the NFIP depends on your unique circumstances. At FloodPrice, we can help you assess your property's flood risk, explore coverage options, and compare costs. For many, the choice comes down to a balance between personalized coverage and competitive pricing. By weighing the pros and cons of each option, we can help you secure the flood insurance that best suits your needs and provides peace of mind for your home.
Need Flood Insurance?
We offer flood insurance through the NFIP and Private Flood Insurance. Let us do the shopping for you! Get a quote online or give us a call at 866-503-5663.