There are a lot of responsibilities one needs to worry about as a homeowner. On top of all the normal requirements of running a household, a homeowner always needs to be looking out for possible worst-case scenarios.
These include the chance of catastrophic disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods. The damage from some disasters may be covered under your general homeowner’s insurance, but flood damage is generally not.
In order to prepare for a flood, you’ll need to secure flood insurance. The cost of this insurance will depend on what zone you are located in. What are the different flood zones and how will they impact your insurance options and cost?
Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What Are The Different Flood Zones?
Everyone lives in areas with some degree of risk of floods. However, the risk in some areas can be dramatically different than in others.
Your city government has likely divided up the geography of your area into various zones. These zones are organized by how likely they are to experience flooding.
Flood zones are labeled alphabetically, with each zone indicating something different about the area located within it. You should get familiar with these zones if you hope to understand their impact on your insurance options.
Zone A is the most common type of flood zone. This means you live in an area that has a decent chance of flooding. Within Zone A, there are several designations that can impact your insurance rates.
Zone B refers to homes that have a moderate flood risk. Zone C, on the other hand, are homes that have a minimal chance of flooding.
Zone D and Zone V are special designations. Zone D indicates homes where the level of risk of flooding is undetermined. Zone V is for homes in special hazard areas, typically homes located near coastal areas.
What Zone Are You Located In?
This is all good to know, but it won’t mean much to you if you can’t determine what zone your particular home is located in. How can you determine this?
A quick look online should do the trick. FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, runs a tool that makes it easy for homeowners to determine their flood designation. All you’ll need to do is plug your address in on their flood services map to determine where you are zoned.
As you look through the map, it might be a little confusing. The map provides a great deal of information and some of it might be in a language that’s difficult for you to discern.
FEMA also provides a glossary on their site to help you understand all the details given about your home’s location.
It’s also a good idea to check the date on the information given about your home’s location. Flood risk can change over time and if the information is from many years in the past, it may no longer be reliable or accurate.
How Do Flood Zones Impact Insurance?
Now that you have a sense of your flood risk, you might turn your attention to the question of your flood insurance. How will your zoning impact the costs and availability of this essential homeowner safety net?
It will certainly be more affordable to you if you live outside of a major high-risk zone. Those who live in Zone B or C locations will likely be able to get affordable flood insurance through the NFIP, the National Flood Insurance Program.
This is an insurance program ran by the federal government that provides flood insurance to homeowners. They offer low-cost policies for homes with low to moderate risk through their Preferred Risk Policy.
The costs of this program can be quite good. It’s not uncommon for a homeowner to be able to get a year of coverage for less than $500. While this isn’t anything, it certainly beats paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars that might result from a surprise flooding.
Those in high-risk areas will obviously be expected to pay more. Just how much more? It will really depend on a wide variety of factors relating to your home. The year of construction, the number of floors, and home elevation will all contribute to the amount one would need to pay.
The cost of insurance for a homeowner who lives in a high-risk area could vary wildly depending on these factors.
Private insurance companies often will be more expensive than the insurance offered through NFIP, but they will provide greater coverage as well. It might be worth the extra cost if flooding is a real reality you have to be concerned about.
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
If you live in a moderate-to-low-risk zone, you might be questioning the decision to get flood insurance altogether. Is it worth it to pay so much for something you might never need?
Generally, the answer is yes. Flooding tends to happen almost everywhere at some point, even in homes that are in moderate to low-risk areas. There is no way to get the damage from floods covered except under direct flood insurance.
For this reason, getting insured is the only reasonable and responsible thing for a homeowner to do.
Understanding Flood Zones
Determining your flood insurance costs is difficult, especially if you’re still asking: what are the different flood zones? As the above information indicates, these zones can have a big impact on what you’ll end up paying and what kind of insurance you’ll secure.
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