WHAT TO DO IF MY PROPERTY HAS A HIGH FLOOD SCORE?
Buy? Sell? Protect? Insure?
- What does a high flood score mean?
Getting a high flood score does not necessarily mean that the property cannot be protected from flooding. First, we look at what flood score or scores were high – riverine, heavy rainfall, hurricane storm surge, tidal flooding with sea level rise or a combination of risks?
- What is your status?
Are you the owner of the property? A potential buyer? Investor or lender? Insurance agent or carrier? A high flood score will have different meanings to different types of customers.
- Frequency of Risk
With regard to riverine, hurricane storm surge, and tidal flooding, your flood score will provide you with the “frequency of risk”. For example a 1% per year risk is also stated by FEMA as the 100-year flood zone. But, this does not mean that this flooding will only occur once in a hundred years. The chance of this type of flooding occurring is 1% per year, every year. So, over a 30-year mortgage cycle, the chance of flooding occurring at the property is a 26% chance or approximately 1-in-4. When you think about it, if the FEMA 100-year flood zone means a 1-in-4 risk of flooding over the life of your mortgage, then, that is quite high.
Every property owner in the FEMA 100-year flood zone should have flood insurance, whether they have a federally-insured mortgage or not. And, many people living in the FEMA 500-year flood zone should also have flood insurance, as was seen in 2017 with wide-spread, 500-year zone flooding in Houston with Hurricane Harvey.
Houston Damaged Buildings in FEMA Flood Zones.
- Fair Market Values
If your flood score shows mid to longer-term flood risks over a 30-year mortgage cycle, then, you should consider how long you plan to occupy the premises. If the property, streets, and neighborhood are floody now and, our modeling shows that this will be increasing in the future, then, the fair market value of the property may be declining over the mortgage cycle.
Freddie Mac Economist Warns of Housing Crisis Caused by Sea Level Rise.
- Do I need flood insurance?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies DO NOT cover flood damage. A separate flood insurance policy is required for any property with a federally-insured mortgage that is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Our reports will indicate whether this applies to you. Insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and, in some cases, private flood insurance options may exist. The flood insurance premium rates will depend on the property’s location in relation to a FEMA flood zone and any discounts that your community may have earned through participation in FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS). Private flood insurance options may consider the FEMA flood zones and other factors, as well, that are covered in your Flood Scores Report from Coastal Risk. Our reports have helped consumers save thousands in annual flood insurance premiums.
- What about my neighborhood and community flood risks?
The report that you received from www.floodscores.com is a risk assessment within your home or businesses’ property boundaries. The report may show little or high risk, but, no home or business is an island. Each property has to have ingress and egress that is not subject to flooding. Otherwise, you may be stuck in your house for days or, your employees may not be able to get to work. If you are a potential homebuyer, you may wonder: “How will I get my kids to school? How will I get to the market and, will the market’s parking lot be flooded?” Different types of flooding can affect your neighborhood differently over time. If you are concerned about neighborhood and community flood risks affecting your home or business, we can produce “wider angle”, flood risk reports on a custom basis. Working together, we can model the boundaries and roadways that are of concern to you.
- If I install flood protections or barriers, will they be effective?
Coastal Risk’s software is uniquely capable of measuring the effectiveness of proposed flood protection devices and systems before they are installed in residential, commercial or governmental buildings. This will provide you comfort as you weigh the pros and cons of investments in flood prevention and resilience.
- Maintain your home and yard. Debris can clog storm drains and increase flooding on your property. Keep storm drains on and near your land clear of debris.
- If you have a septic tank, have it inspected and pumped regularly.
- Clean out storage areas in garages, basements, and under elevated structures to avoid contaminating floodwater with household chemicals.
- Make improvements to reduce the potential for damage.
- Elevate electrical and climate systems. Raise circuit breakers and wiring. Elevate your furnace, water heater and washer/dryer above your property’s flood level. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be raised and anchored.
- Modify water and sewer valves. Storms and rising tides can cause your community’s sewer system to flood, which can cause sewage to back up into your home. Consider installing backflow valves.
- Evaluate landscaping to drain water away from the foundation. If you are near the coast, consider salt-tolerant vegetation.
- Install flood vents or waterproof veneer to prevent water from entering inside or cracking your home’s foundation.