For map information on Florida Flood zones: http://www.mapwise.com/maps/florida/hazards.php
Or Floodsmart website: http://www.floodsmart.gov/
Floods and Natural Disasters can be devastating to a homeowner. You should know your insurance policy and what and how it covers during storms – like flood waters rise and do damage from the ground – water damage from blowing rain and winds because of a hurricane or tornado may not be a considered a flood.
A flood can happen anywhere it rains or anywhere there is a river, dam, levee or a natural body of water. Also any manmade structure that influences or guides waters that can fail! Currently in the United States most of the dams and levees are over 50 years old and there are over 14,000 of them but even though they are monitored regularly by a state or government agency there is a chance of their failure anytime, but even more risk during heavy rains or a storm or storm surge.
When purchasing a residence you will want to inquire as to potential flood zone – however just because there never was a flood there before does not guarantee there never will be – look at the topography and ask others. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period on new flood insurance policies, so get coverage before the next storm is on its way. Flood insurance is worth the cost of the policy to feel secure.
One good thing is taxpayers don’t subsidize flood policies – unless the US Treasury Dept. forgives what is owed to them. But the Flood Program “WAS” doing great and was solvent from 1986 to 2004 and then Katrina! Katrina was a more costly flood than everything prior to 2005 combined. All the 15 flood events prior covered under the Flood Program didn’t cost what the Katrina flood did! According to USGS.gov almost 50% of the population of the United States lives within 50 miles of a coast and that number is increasing. In the event of a storm the barrier islands and coastal wetlands are the first to get the storm surge and/or erosion so understand the policy you have.
If you live on a coast or are buying on the coast or barrier island it naturally is a risk – but you can prepare and become educated to the risks and be ready to deal with the issue. If you live on the mainland or an interior area where there are mountains and valleys, keep in mind that topography was created by nature – valleys are a natural area for the water to seek in a heavy rain disaster! If cautioned to leave an area – go! You can rebuild and replace a home, not a life.
In most natural water disasters loss of life is usually unnecessary – residents in an area need to heed the warnings that are given to them. If necessary, take your important papers in a plastic bag and leave the area to safety.
The Flood maps are being redrawn and there is talk of huge increases to flood insurance; we will have to watch to see what happens in this arena in the near future. Most of all residents wherever you live or are looking to buy should learn what you can about the area and if necessary how to prepare and deal with a flood or water disaster. The first part of staying safe is learning! Stay safe and be smart!
Call me, Janyne Kenworthy if you have a question about a home location – I can help you!
1-800-773-8985 or 772-696-5110