Do I Need Flood Insurance In Southwest Florida?

The short answer, if flood insurance is not required, you may want to consider it anyway. Keep reading to find out why.

Do you know what the most common natural disaster in the United States is?

It’s flooding, but did you also know that the typical home insurance policy doesn’t cover it?

The same is true for condominiums and renters policies, most insurers will not cover flooding…unfortunately, most people don’t find out until it’s too late and their property is underwater.

There is no such thing as a “flood free” zone in Florida. The average elevation in Florida is 6-7 feet above sea level. So, every storm season carries with it the possibility of flooding damaging your home and your personal property.

Flood zone maps calculate the risk of flooding in a certain area. Mortgage companies use these maps to decide whether or not to mandate flood insurance for buyers purchasing homes.

It is mandatory to carry flood insurance if purchasing in a high-risk flood zone with a federally regulated bank.

It’s best not to wait till a storm is on the horizon or we are in the middle of hurricane season to apply.
~Tracy Lynne Rennspiess – SWFL Insurance

What is a high-risk flood zone?

These zones designated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) with the letters A or V on the FEMA flood map. When purchasing a home in a high-risk flood zone it is wise to obtain a Flood Elevation Certificate. A qualified surveyor charges an average of $80 to $100 in price.

The certificate shows how your property’s elevation compares to the FEMA base flood elevation on a flood map. Your properties’ lowest elevation is compared to the base flood elevation to determine how much flood insurance will cost.

A Realtor can check with the seller as they may already have a flood elevation certificate to give you. The same holds true for buying new construction. More than likely the builder will have one and can give you a copy to share with your insurance agent.

But the house I’m buying is in a low-risk flood zone?

Moderate to low-risk flood areas are designated with the letters B, C, and X on FEMA flood maps. Low to moderate-risk flood zones account for 20% of all flood claims so being in these areas does not mean you don’t need flood insurance.

Property Owners in these areas are eligible for lower-cost flood insurance known as Preferred Risk Policies. These policies can be very inexpensive but keep in mind if flood insurance is not mandated by your lender there is a 30-day wait before it goes into effect.

It’s best not to wait till a storm is on the horizon or we are in the middle of hurricane season to apply.

In Florida, the average price of a flood insurance policy is $500 a year. It can only be purchased through a licensed, insurance agent.

When discussing home insurance policy pricing with your agent, don’t overlook flood protection.

It’s affordable, practical, and claims are paid even if a disaster is not declared. Flood insurance rounds out your insurance protection here in the sunshine state. Here in Florida, when it rains it pours. Be prepared.

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