Flood Zones are geographic areas that FEMA has defined according to varying levels of risk. These zones are depicted on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area. For more information on the FEMA insurance program, visit the FEMA website at www.fema.gov. Check your home here!
What do I need to know about flood insurance?
When buying a home, you shouldn’t be scared of flood insurance or flood zones. It should be something to consider and be aware of just like the age of the home, the roof, schools or any other factors.
You should be aware and proactive when considering a home in a flood zone. Each year thousands of homes across the United States are flooded. Many of these properties are not in areas designated to be Special Flood Hazard Areas. In fact nearly 30% of all flood claims occur outside of these zones.
Many homes that are in the Special Flood Areas, zones where your mortgage company requires flood insurance, also have very low premiums because they were built with regulations in mind. Considering the fact that insurance is highly recommended, this means a homeowners costs can be very similar whether in or out of the plain.
Flood insurance rates can, however, range from just a few hundred dollars a year to multiple thousands depending on the home’s location and style of construction. Homes in an X zone enjoy rates around $400 or less per year.
When considering a property in coastal Georgia, it is important to do your research early. Consult with your Realtor about what areas may or may not require insurance and be aware that your mortgage company may require insurance to close. That cost can and will have an impact on your monthly payment.
For every $100 a buyer spends monthly on insurance, this reduces the purchase power by nearly $20,000. You may be able to buy more or less house than you were considering on this fact alone.
Newer homes are typically built with the plain in mind and you will see homes that are built up in many cases. They may have vents around the foundation or garage or may be open underneath. All of these features help keep costs down and are designed to keep damage to a minimum.
The most important factor is to find a local, knowledgeable insurance agent that can work with your Realtor to determine the rates and risks for properties under consideration. This will allow you to make an informed and timely decision that won’t leave you out to dry in the home buying process.
Jeffrey M. Brady
Rountree Brady Insurance Agency
Phone (912)356-3815 Fax (912)351-0247