It is no secret that coastal homes are often at a high risk of flood – some of these homes are even required to have flood insurance because the likelihood of flood is so high – but there are a surprising number of inland places that are considered to be high-risk areas as well. The only way to know for sure if your home is in one of these areas is to check out FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or a Storm Surge Map if you are in a coastal area. However, there are many indicators that you can use to determine if you are possibly living in one of these high-risk areas.
There are three basic types of floods that occur in the United States: coastal flooding, river flooding, and flash flooding. Coastal floods, of course, occur on the shores of oceans and large lakes when hurricanes, tornadoes, excessive rainfall, or even unusual tides can cause the water to surge over the shores. River flooding is due to rivers or streams overflowing their banks, usually because of local weather systems that drop too much rain over an extended period of time. If your home is on a low-lying river basin or on a shore without dunes or levies, you are likely in a high-risk area.
Your risk for flash floods is harder to determine, because they can occur almost anywhere. A flash flood usually happens in densely populated towns or cities, where the miles of asphalt and concrete contribute to poor drainage conditions. When too much rain falls or snow melts too rapidly, storm drains can overflow, creating rushing rivers in closely confined roadways. Low areas like subways, underpasses, and valley neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable to flash floods. Whether your home is in an urban or rural area, you can still be affected by flash floods due to excessive run-off near your home, leaky basement walls, or even a high water content in your soil which does not allow extra water to soak into the ground.
Your homeowner’s insurance can be affected by your risk of flood, whether or not you choose to purchase flood coverage. You can determine for yourself, to some extent, whether or not this will be a factor for your insurance premium. If you live in any of the above-mentioned areas (i.e. in low-lying towns or cities, or close to streams, rivers, lakes, or the ocean), then you can be almost certain that your insurance rate will go up because of flood risk. In the highest-risk areas, where there is at least a 25% chance of flood damage during a typical thirty-year mortgage, flood coverage is required by law.
Some of the most high-risk areas in the United States include beach cities like Virginia Beach, Jersey Shore, Miami, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, just to name a few. Also, homes near the Mississippi River are at an extremely high risk of flooding, due to low, marshy banks on many parts of the river. In fact, the most expensive flood in the history of the United States was due to flooding of the Mississippi. Flood insurance may be required for your home if you are in a high-risk area; but even if it is not, you can better protect your home with flood insurance. There are national programs available that you may qualify for which can provide affordable discounted flood insurance for your high-risk home.
Visit the FEMA website for more information and to see the flood risk map for your home, and call Direct Flood Insurance Agency, LLC at 504-812-7811 to learn more about adding Louisiana Flood Insurance to your current policy, or to start a new homeowner's insurance policy.