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Old 12-28-2015, 10:27 AM
 
127 posts, read 267,836 times
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We are starting out search for a home next month.... Is there any easy way to find out if a home is in a flood zone? I'm hoping I can find a website that enables me to input an address. The FEMA flood map does not make it easy. Thank you
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,151 posts, read 3,923,176 times
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You an input an address here http://www.floodsmart.gov

HOWEVER, each house is evaluated individually and all the above page does is show you the flood zone for that particular property via the flood map overlay. It does NOT take into account elevation certificates or other info that may lower a person's insurance by quite a bit.

I would not hesitate to look at a house that interests me based on its listing just because it is in a flood zone. The realtor can tell you the current flood insurance rating and premium for the house.
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:49 PM
 
127 posts, read 267,836 times
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I did not know the realtor would provide this information. Thank you. I have searched this morning and found whatismyelevation.com. I wonder how accurate it is.
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
4,222 posts, read 4,378,270 times
Reputation: 4226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vellamint View Post
I did not know the realtor would provide this information. Thank you. I have searched this morning and found whatismyelevation.com. I wonder how accurate it is.
Not terribly accurate, when you consider that it identifies a single point.

I say that because I live in a home on which the property shows up as straddling a flood zone. Looking at the FEMA maps, you would expect my home and property to be squarely in a flood zone.

However, the area was built up before being developed, so the true elevation is a good 10-12 feet above what the original elevation was. FEMA maps do not reflect such changes, so you have to look at the County's records to see that there was a LOMA filed by the developer that shows the change in elevation.

What's confusing is that FEMA does not update flood elevation maps when these changes are made - they rely on exceptions being filed with the local government that go to FEMA for final approval for changes that are made during development or building - that's what a LOMA is for.

An elevation certificate is a part of the survey process that shows the average base elevation of the property, and it's what the insurers will want to see before they underwrite a policy for the property.

On a related note, don't think that just because you're not in a flood zone you don't need flood insurance. Here's why:

Regular homeowner's insurance protects against wind driven water or rain. Flood insurance protects against "rising water". If we have a hurricane and your pool overflows, and by some means the water gets into your house, your homeowner's insurance would not cover the loss - it's "rising water".

While we are not in a flood zone, we have flood insurance, as it's cheap. About $400/year in our case. Yes, it has a very high deductible, but in the event of substantial loss, it's still cheaper than writing off the house and contents.

RM
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:54 AM
 
3,313 posts, read 4,596,034 times
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Depending on the county sometimes you can go to County Appraiser site, insert the address and look at the map, then look at avail. layers and chose FEMA to see how it falls. Be careful with FIRMs however, some old one are in the process of getting updated and some new got revisions issued and you really need to look at these to figure out if it affects you.
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Vermont, Chittenden County
24 posts, read 23,800 times
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Really nice website for Pinellas County


Pinellas County Storm Surge Visualization
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:56 PM
 
Location: FL
102 posts, read 288,874 times
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I had a pain in the ass time with my condo in Largo and the whole flood zone thing during the home purchasing process. Yes, the website does not make it easy, but for what its worth, you are better off asking the residents / neighborhood in or around where you live on whether they know if they are in a flood zone. I was in a situation where my mortgage company absolutely needed to know whether I needed flood insurance protection or not based on flood zone, while the hard to read map appeared to have indicated I was in flood zone, we were able to verify from residents in the building that we are pretty much only building in this area not in a flood zone. So lesson of this story is, if you hear one thing from someone else, and believe otherwise, you might save yourself a ton of money in the long run by verifying with multiple sources.
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