Flood Insurance Explained
If you are looking at buying a property, you need to know the flood zone. That’s information I will provide you.
Most homeowners’ insurances do not cover flood damage.
Every home in Pinellas County is in a flood zone. The difference is how high is the risk of flooding.
High risk zones, also called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. The common ones for Pinellas County are A, AE and VE.
The most common low risk zone is X where the risk of flooding is less than .2% in any given year.
Your insurance company will likely need an elevation certificate to verify your flood zone. Those may be available from the seller or can be ordered with the survey.
Sometimes part of the property is in one flood zone, and the structure (house) is in a different zone. Normally, the zone the structure is in determines your need for and rates for flood insurance.
Flood zones and evacuation zones are different. Flood zones are used for assessing a property’s flood risk, which can be caused by heavy rains as well as by tropical storms and hurricanes. Evacuation zones are based on a property’s vulnerability to storm surge from a hurricane.
Do you need flood insurance? If you are getting a mortgage, that is determined by the lender. Federally backed loans require flood insurance for properties in SFHAs. In general, if the flood zone is anything other than X, you will probably be required to obtain flood insurance. Even if it isn’t required by your lender, I strongly suggest you consider purchasing flood insurance.
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