Water is essential for life, but it can be dangerous too. In fact, a single inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damages to a single-family home (source). If your home address is in a flood zone, you can’t afford to just go with the flow. To protect your family and your property, you need to understand the types of damage that flooding can cause and how flood insurance works. It’s also vital that you have a clear idea of your property’s flood risk and know what steps you can take to minimize the damage if flooding does breach the walls of your home. Whether you currently reside in a flood zone or you’re exploring potential homes, what do you need to know about living in a flood zone?
Things to Know About Living in a Flood Zone
The Potential Damage Flooding Can Cause
As Homes.com points out, water damage may be the most obvious consequence of flooding, but it’s not the only one. In addition to dealing with the inevitable repairs and replacements triggered by the water damage, you’ll have to worry about mold and other health hazards. There’s also the problem of finding a safe place to live while you wait for your property to be restored. Finally, disruption to your life is almost inevitable. In some cases, flooding is an isolated incident, and you simply have to miss a few days of work to deal with the fallout. In other situations, entire communities are devastated. When both workers and their employers are struggling to recover, the economic impact can be prolonged and severe, making it especially important to have access to the resources that you’ll need to rebuild.
The Facts About Flood Insurance
If disaster strikes, many homeowners expect their insurance to provide them with the means to rebuild. Sadly, people counting on help from their homeowners insurance after a flood are normally out of luck; few homeowners insurance policies cover flood damage. What about federal disaster assistance? As FloodSmart.gov explains, you shouldn’t rely on this either. Most flood events don’t trigger a Presidential Disaster Declaration, and federal disaster assistance is only available after such a declaration is made. Even if this assistance is available, it’s not intended to fully restore your home or property. It’s very limited in nature and typically comes in the form of low interest loans.
Instead of relying on federal disaster assistance, homeowners insurance, or even renters insurance, you will need to purchase flood insurance. In many areas, flood insurance is required by law.
Determining Your Flood Risk
How worried should you be about flooding? As Allstate indicates, flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are at greater risk. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides an interactive flood map that allows you to enter your address to find out what experts say about the risk of flooding at your property. If you live in an area with a high or moderate risk, your lender may require you to have flood insurance. In places considered lower risk, you’ll want to assess the pros and cons of purchasing flood insurance carefully. After all, more than 20 percent of flood insurance claims are filed by people outside of high-risk areas, according to FloodSmart.gov.
Minimizing Flood Damage
Being pragmatic and proactive about potential risks will often allow you to weather the storm with less damage. If you’re living in a flood zone, you may not be able to prevent a flood, but you can minimize the damage of a flood by following a few of these suggestions from Realtor.com:
- Keep storm drains and ditches clear.
- Install check valves to prevent floodwater from backing up into your drains.
- Waterproof your basement.
- Protect your electrical panel, water heater, furnace, and other mechanical systems from floodwaters by elevating them.
- Store important papers and valuables on upper floors.
Taking steps to minimize the potential for flood damage will help to safeguard both your property and the people who call it home.
Living in a flood zone carries unique risks. Consider these risks carefully before you decide to purchase a home in a flood zone. If you have questions about how a property’s location in a flood zone might impact its value or your ability to secure a mortgage, reach out to PrimeLending of Springfield, Missouri. As trusted mortgage experts, we’re ready to assist you in reaching your housing goals. Contact us online or give us a call at 417-616-0777.