Flood Insurance: In Florida, It’s the Law

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Kevin Hill REALTOR®, Luxury & Waterfront Specialist is here to guide you with the very important decision of purchasing property.

Next month will be the 15th anniversary of 2008’s Tropical Storm Fay. The historic, slow-moving system dropped nearly 28” of rain throughout Brevard, and persistent bands of heavy rain caused widespread flash-flooding across the county, leaving behind extensive property damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

Ironically, in Florida — one of the most flood-prone states in the nation – only 19 percent of households carry flood insurance, leaving close to 7 million households in Florida without flood coverage. Additionally, less than four percent of households nationwide have flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is governed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Many residents are unaware that a precedent-setting bill approved by the state last year requires hundreds of thousands of Florida property owners to purchase flood insurance. It is the very first mandate of its kind in the US,  requiring residents to carry flood insurance, regardless of whether or not they are in a high-risk flood zone.

The bill was approved two months after Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage in parts of Florida where almost no one had flood coverage. Supporters say the new law could protect people whose homes are damaged by storms from financial ruin because flood coverage is generally not included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies.

The requirement comes as lawmakers and officials are struggling to get more homeowners to purchase flood insurance to protect their homes against climate change.

Federal law has traditionally required homeowners to carry flood insurance on property inside a flood zone, but prior to this new law, homes secured by a federally-backed mortgage were exempt.

Purchasing flood insurance is not only the law, but it’s a smart way to protect your assets when you consider FEMA, the main provider of U.S. flood coverage, only covers up to $8,000 per claim, which doesn’t amount to much when you consider an average claim runs closer to $50,000.

In Brevard County, the government participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) program administered by FEMA. The CRS is a voluntary program that honors communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The initiative aims to reduce flood damage, increase public safety, and promote awareness and preparedness.

Under the program, participating communities are assigned a CRS rating based on floodplain management activities. The ratings range from Class 1 (highest) to Class 10 (lowest and determines the percentage of savings policyholders receive on flood insurance premiums. The higher the CRS rating, the greater the discount. Cities throughout Brevard have different ratings; for example, Melbourne has a Classification 7, thereby earning homeowners 15% off flood insurance premiums. Other cities carry different ratings. To view the amount of savings for your area, visit www.floridadisaster.org.

In Florida, storm systems and hurricanes are a given each year. While the impact and severity are not within our control, how we protect our families and properties is. Being prepared makes the most sense. Check with your insurance agent for directions on how you can protect your home and family with flood insurance.

Kevin R. Hill is committed to assisting clients in every facet of the home SELLING and/ or BUYING experience. With over 39 years of real estate experience, Kevin’s knowledge and insight about the Space Coast real estate market are invaluable to many, from young, first-time home buyers to seasoned long-term return investors. Kevin offers evidence-based solutions to both the SELLER and the BUYER alike. Call her today at 321.543.3649.


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