Every Florida home is in a flood zone! But what does that mean to you as a homeowner?

This post is meant to be a short concise snap shot of how flood zones are defined, how it affects you, and we provide some Q&A at the end to help clarify some common misunderstandings about flood.

To start let’s define what is considered a flood with the following simplified definition:

Flood is a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation (of water) of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties from overflow of inland or tidal water, or unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source. Essentially if 2 acres of land or 2 properties that are not normally under water are now under water, then it is considered a flood.

As stated above every property in Florida is in a flood zone, meaning ALL properties are at risk for flood, but not all zones are created equal. Most consumers classify flood in two ways, either their mortgagee tells them they must carry it, so they do, or they are told they are not required to carry it, so they don’t. To get a little more technical, most flood zones in Volusia and surrounding counties are either zoned as X, A, or AE. A and AE are pretty much the same risk exposure just one has more info documented than the other. The people who are not required to carry flood are those whose properties are zoned X. Anything besides X is considered higher risk and so if you have a mortgage you’ll be required to obtain flood coverage. Now, even though properties in X zones are not required by the mortgage company to carry flood does not mean they are not at risk. Below is some Q & A that, I hope, will help to clarify some common misunderstandings on flood, but first I would like to break down a SIMPLIFIED version of what X, A, and AE zones mean.

X Zone (lower risk): Are areas that have a 0.2% chance of flooding every year.

A Zone or AE Zone (higher risk): Are areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

Below we have put together some helpful info in the form of Q & A. These are questions we have helped answer for our clients and believe most will find them helpful in clearing up some common misunderstandings regarding flood.

Questions 1:
Client: If my property is hit by a flood and I don’t carry flood coverage, will disaster assistance bail me out?

Wellcovered Insurance: Maybe–as long as the President declares a disaster, which doesn’t always happen. But even if it does, Federal assistance is usually a LOAN. Borrow $50,000 at 4% and you’ll pay about $240 a month for 30 years, in addition to your mortgage.

Questions 2:
Client: Does my home insurance policy cover flood.

Wellcovered Insurance: No, or at least almost always no. Some home insurance companies have recently created an endorsement to add flood coverage to a standard home insurance policy. But as of right now this is rare, normally flood is covered on a stand-alone policy.

Question 3:
Client: My house is on a hill, so water drains away. Am I safe from flood?

Wellcovered Insurance: Your risk may be reduced, but it’s not eliminated. If your community’s storm water drainage system clogs or fails, flooding from heavy rain could cause damage to your home and contents.

Question 4:
Client: My area has never flooded, so am I safe from flood?

Wellcovered Insurance: Conditions change. Nearby construction can alter drainage patterns, and rainfall can exceed yearly averages. In addition, nearby community storm water drains can clog and quickly back up water during heavy rains, causing localized flooding. What’s happened in the past is no guarantee of what will happen in the future.

I hope this post brought you some value and thank you for reading!

About the Author:
Richard Dixon is the owner operator of Wellcovered Insurance a local independent insurance agency located in Orange City, Florida.