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Flood zones: Is your property at risk of flooding?

For the majority of homeowners and renters alike, being hit with flash or regular floods is not something that crossed our mind on a daily basis. It’s simply something that “doesn’t happen to me”, or “doesn’t happen where we live”.

flooded city

However, flooding can happen anywhere, at any time. For most households, flooding won’t occur to them, but for others, they may experience at least one flood in their lifetime - it truly is a lifetime event, so we pray it does not happen to you and your family. However, you should be prepared for flooding no matter where you live.

Much like other natural disasters, see: hurricanes, tornadoes, and other storms, they have the power to destroy everything you own including your property and belongings in a matter of seconds. So, to reduce your risk of flooding, or to at least be prepared, you should check whether or not your property is within a flood zone.

What is a flood zone?

Flood zones are areas that are at greater risk of flooding. Although your property may never actually flood, this can have an adverse effect on the cost of the property, including acquiring a mortgage and home insurance.

Before moving to a new home, whether a rental or bought outright, you should always check whether or not it’s within a flood zone. This allows you to prepare, whilst the likelihood is it won’t flood, you can at least put some defenses in place and come up with a plan should it happen.

Furthermore, if you aren’t already aware, flood insurance is not included within standard homeowner insurance. Therefore, this must be purchased separately. If your home is within a flood zone, your flood insurance is likely to be higher. Likewise, some borrowers (e.g. the bank) may require you to purchase this, protecting their assets in the case of a flood.

Flood insurance can quite quickly become really expensive, especially if the area has recently been hit by floods. This can be a problem if trying to sell your home, more so if you do not have insurance in place. No avid home seeker wants to live in a home that is at risk of flooding, or worse does not have flood insurance. So, invest in flood insurance today and protect your property, especially if you live in a high-risk flood zone area.

How to find out whether or not your property is in a high-risk flood zone

flooded area

It’s time to find out whether or not your property is in a high-risk flood zone. For some, this will come as a shock.

Visit the FEMA website or alternatively click here, entering your address to gain access to the most relevant flood map in your local area. If your property is not on the map (perhaps it’s a new build), then look around the general area for a rough idea.

You can also use another website called National Flood Services. Similarly, enter your address and you will gain access to a floodplain map. If your property is within a flood zone, you can quickly receive an estimate quote for flood insurance. This is essential research many miss when looking for a new home - don’t be caught out.

If you already live in the property, or the quote you received is a little out of budget, it’s worth doing some further research. A few phone calls and Google searches will greater determine the average price of flood insurance for the property, helping you make an informed decision on whether or not you need flood insurance.

What to do if your property is in the flood zone

After checking the flood maps and discovering your property is in a flood zone it’s important not to panic. This does not mean your property is going to flood, but you should consider purchasing flood insurance just in case.

In some cases, these maps have not been updated - your property might not actually be in the flood zone, affecting your flood insurance. To check this, you can contact FEMA through their website, followed up by contacting your insurance provider.

Each insurance provider you contact is likely to provide a somewhat similar quote for insurance. Therefore, it’s worth shopping around, finding the best price on the market. Often, you can tell insurance providers that another company offered less (if this is true), allowing them to be a little more competitive with pricing.

So, to conclude: flood insurance is not required, but is highly recommended, especially if you live in a flood zone. To find whether or not your property is located within a flood zone, use the tools included in this article. This allows you to take appropriate steps, deciding whether or not flood insurance is for you and your property.