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Old 12-24-2014, 03:15 PM
 
19 posts, read 31,668 times
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Hello,
I have many different things about the recent changes in flood insurance premiums. Can anyone help clear up some of the questions I have..

1. Heard that prospective buyers have a hard time getting actual cost of flood insurance premiums from the seller, real estate agent and even city. Heard city won't offer much help to prospective buyer.
2. I see these homes on the canals and waterways, do these people actually pay 10k-14k in premiums?
3. I located the fema maps and seen the zones for various neighborhoods but also heard those maps are changing and being updated often, this is another area some real estate agents won't be forthcoming and you could buy a home and find out it will be re-evaluated as in flood zone and the agent knew that was possible but never told the buyer so they don't lose a sale.
I was planning on looking into a home located on a canal but now I am not so sure because of the incredible cost of flood insurance.
Any advice on buying a home in Florida now, age of home, construction type, and other areas to look at to keep the insurance at a reasonable price? I may have to give up on the idea of a canal home and move inland.
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Old 12-24-2014, 04:47 PM
 
434 posts, read 406,402 times
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Not sure who could better explain the issue better than the national governing agency.

https://www.fema.gov/region-vi/natio...sked-questions


About those new maps.
http://www.fema.gov/media-library-da...ice+Center.pdf
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Old 12-24-2014, 05:15 PM
 
17,444 posts, read 10,514,899 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonAnc View Post
Not sure who could better explain the issue better than the national governing agency.

https://www.fema.gov/region-vi/natio...sked-questions


About those new maps.
http://www.fema.gov/media-library-da...ice+Center.pdf
This does not look god for almost all of populated Florida and other States with a coast and significant population on the coast. Family in NC says the flood zones and increases are being applied to areas never covered before and who have never had problems. Looks like trying to minimize the cost to some on the coast at the expense of others.
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Old 12-25-2014, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
1,338 posts, read 1,383,956 times
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Trulia has a flood hazard map. Florida counties and cities should have very detailed flood maps. You can go to the FEMA website and put in an address and get the flood zone for it. Always verify an address, you might be surprised to see which areas/addresses are in a flood zone and which are not.

Much of Florida will have very expensive flood insurance. I saw an news article where an out of state buyer was hit with over $9000 per year premium. Existing occupant owners will have existing flood insurance rates increase to the full rate over several years. New buyers and rental owners will pay the full rate immediately.

This all came about because of the Biggert-Waters act which was a tea party sponsored law to force federal flood insurance to be self supporting. Before the bill, flood insurance was subsidized and did not reflect the true cost. Conservative legislators voted for Biggert-Watters to show they supported reducing the cost of government. However, they were not being genuine, in that legislators never expected to take effect. That is, they expected legislators in coastal areas to amend funding bills to block Biggert-Waters from taking effect. So they were expecting to take credit for voting to reduce government spending but not really have it happen. However, the legislators caused a government shutdown and funding legislation used to get the government going again prohibited the expected amendments by coastal legislators to stop Biggert-Waters from taking effect. Since government funding is on auto-pilot, the Biggert-Waters act remains in place and is probably not possible to unwind. Now everyone knows the true cost of flood insurance and which areas are effected. It is unlikely, that coastal legislators can either hide a change or build a coalition to unravel Biggert-Waters.
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Old 12-25-2014, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Port Charlotte
3,926 posts, read 4,745,494 times
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FEMA.gov has on-line flood maps, can search by street address. You can see waterfront lots where the street and rear of the lot will be in Zone A, while the house site isin Zone X due to elevated site.

Insurance companies can give you the rates,
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Old 12-25-2014, 11:57 AM
 
4,948 posts, read 16,484,538 times
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One does not need to live in a flood zone to need flood insurance. I have it cost 265.00 in Florida why watching the news and floods in places which never did flood
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:20 PM
 
17,444 posts, read 10,514,899 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maggiekate View Post
One does not need to live in a flood zone to need flood insurance. I have it cost 265.00 in Florida why watching the news and floods in places which never did flood
Your rate will go up a LOT.
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:50 PM
 
17,444 posts, read 10,514,899 times
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I find it interesting that it is nearly impossible to find a flood map online.
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Old 12-27-2014, 04:17 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,084 posts, read 3,431,403 times
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https://msc.fema.gov/portal

https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/
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Old 12-27-2014, 04:23 PM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,133,493 times
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This is not that difficult. I purchased a waterfront home in a flood zone in the Keys a year ago - it is definitely doable, provided you're willing to take the risk. Any waterfront place, canalfront or otherwise, will be lacking some of the wave and wind protection that homes further inland will get, thus leaving you open to far more destruction than other homes in a storm. Keep in mind that the reality is, people often have trouble getting either FEMA flood insurance, or Citizen's wind insurance, to cough up the full amount they are owed in the event of a catastrophe. So it might end up being a catastrophic financial loss. FEMA can't give you any more than 250k anyway, since they have a cap.

Your main goal in buying a waterfront property is to make sure it is a stilt home, with any below storage area meeting FEMA code requirements. It does not really matter if the house is in a flood zone or not - if it is close, make sure the house you get meets these standards, because yes, flood maps are redrawn every few years. If you're worried about flood insurance money, DO NOT buy a house in a V flood zone - which means it is on open waterfront (bayfront/oceanfront). Buy one on a canal multiple houses in at the very minimum from open water. If your stilt house has a storage area below it, read the FEMA regulations on that and make sure yours is compliant. The house may already have undergone a FEMA inspection and passed, but even so you do not want to fool around with this. Unless the property has been raised to an X zone (above flood) - which is rare and usually means the house is crazy expensive - then there can be no finished walls downstairs, no toilet/sink/kitchen/living space/expensive equipment that a flood could destroy, and the entire enclosure cannot be larger than 300sqft. It has to have multiple vents for water to escape through of proportions noted in the FEMA regulations, and breakaway walls. It is not for living space, nor for storage of anything significant (even expensive yard equipment which could be totaled by water).

Do not even consider any home with an illegal downstairs enclosure, as it will not qualify for a mortgage (and will be astronomically expensive between construction and fines), and regardless of the law do not consider houses that are "pre-FIRM" either (built before 1973 so totally unsafe in a storm but legal) - they will cost you a fortune in flood insurance, probably have plenty of mold, and the way the legislative wind is blowing, probably will no longer qualify for protection legally a decade from now anyway, because it is completely illogical that a hurricane gives a crap what year your house was built - it will take out anything in the path of the rushing waves and flood waters.

When you've identified a house you think fits all this criteria (ignore anyone who says it's overkill, they are not looking out for you), call a local insurance company and ask them to give you prospective quotes. They're used to doing this, and won't mind doing it for several houses, especially if you reward them with your business when you've chosen the one to buy. They can give you quotes on homeowner's insurance, flood, and wind - all of which you're likely to be required to have if you have a mortgage. Ask your mortgage company if you're unsure just how much coverage they require at minimum. Usually it will be for the entire amount of the "replacement value" of the home, at minimum, meaning you'll have to have the amount of the house at the bank's appraisal for the life of the loan in homeowner's insurance, and the max allowable in coverage in both flood and wind (probably less than the value of the house if it's waterfront since again they have a cap).

For a 1500sqft house that is FEMA compliant and waterfront, you would want to budget for in the vicinity of 4-6k/yr in total insurances, with the understanding that each house will be a bit different and it might be less or it might be more. A house that is well-built and especially one built post-1993, or even better post-2002, will get you better discounts on wind insurance which matters, because it will be your most expensive insurance now that you have a stilt home with no downstairs enclosure.

Before you complete your sale, the house should be inspected, the land surveyed, and if it does not have a recent flood elevation certificate on file (within the last 10 years or so), you'll need to pay to have another one done. This will give you peace of mind as to just what elevation you're at, and whether the house has any mitigations that need to be done for living space to be above flood (walk away if that is the case). At that point the insurance company will also have an inspection to be sure that your house meets their requirements for both FEMA compliance, and possible wind credits, etc. You will then have a pretty precise quote of what it will cost you. If you have no storage area at all below the house, or if the house has been built onto an X zone, you will not have to pay for flood insurance at all (although yes, with rising waters this could change at some point - I know of people this has happened to after 20 years of ownership of a non-stilt house, and yeah, it cost them a ton, which is why you need a stilt no matter what if you're near the water's edge.) If you have a storage area that fits the FEMA requirements, it still will not likely cost you much.

My storage area came with the house, and just happened to measure in at the max allowable size. I am in a very deep AE zone, surrounded by water on multiple sides, so at great risk for flood but not in a V zone. Even so, my flood insurance is only $600/yr for that rather useless storage area. Not a killer by any means. If it ever went really high for some reason, I would consider having the storage area removed (under permit) completely, but I doubt that will be a problem for at least a decade yet, given that the law is currently more concerned with the thousands of PEOPLE currently living below flood - I don't think my plastic rake getting wet is their first priority.

My total insurances cost about 4k, given that the house qualifies for max wind credits. It would have been significantly cheaper if the house was newer - but then again, the house would have been significantly more expensive of course.

Buying a waterfront property is very doable if you can afford the price range they come in where you want to live. Just buy a FEMA-compliant stilt house - preferably post-2002 and with no storage at all below if you can manage it - and you will be just fine.
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