You’ve worked hard to save money to buy a house and maybe even a beautiful vacation home. Don’t squander these hard earned investments by not knowing your flood risks. Even if your home or business isn’t located near water, that doesn’t mean you are free from flooding risks. Remember, floods can happen anywhere it rains. Protect your investments by understanding your real flood risk and taking steps to make sure you’re covered in case of disaster.
Flooding happens in every state in the United States. And just because the FEMA flood maps show that you are in a low risk area, that isn’t always the case. Looking back at some of the recent major hurricanes like Sandy, Harvey, and Irma, most property damage caused by floods happened outside of FEMA flood zones.
Floods are the most common of all weather related disasters. If your property is located anywhere where severe storms occur suddenly, you too are in risk of flood damage. This risk is increased if your home or business is located in a densely populated area or near hilly terrain.
Highly populated areas have very little ground area to soak up runoff, and hilly landscapes increase the power of water leaving you at increased risk for flash floods. Flash floods are the most dangerous type of flood because there is very little ability to predict when or where their destructive path might flow.
Climate change is also increasing flooding risks. It’s rising sea levels, increasing the intensity of thunderstorms, and expanding the risk of flooding damage from storm surge and flash floods. And keep in mind, FEMA maps don’t take into account any increasing future flooding risks. Take in all these factors together and protecting your property from flooding should be one of your leading concerns.
FEMA maps are a good start, but we’ve learned that these maps aren’t always the most accurate at determining your property’s real flood risk. The government often lags behind in updating their maps as development happens so quickly. In fact, 58% of FEMA flood maps are erroneous or out of date. An area might flood three or four times before FEMA gets around to deeming it a high risk flood area.
So is there anywhere to turn to give you a more reliable look at protecting your investments from floods? A property-specific Flood and Climate Risk Assessment™is a scientific and trusted report giving you up-to-date risk information about your property investments.
The Flood and Climate Risk Assessment factors in nine separate flood and climate risk factors and leverages high-resolution LIDAR to get the most accurate elevation data available. This assessment not only generates the most accurate flood data today, but also calculates your risk factors in the future. These risks include:
Sea level rise
At this point you will want to take a good look at your property’s engineering and assess what your additional risks are. For example, where is the entrance to your property? Does your property include any below ground elements? Are there any flood barriers on your property like levees, seawalls, or is your house raised?
Once you know the flood risks you can work to protect your investments. Flood defense systems may include:
Removable or retractable flood barriers
Dry flood proofing
Some of these flood protection systems may need a building permit from your local government. Your contractor will be able to help you through this process if necessary.
Climate change is occurring; there is no doubt about that anymore. Taking steps to decrease your flooding risk now will save you money in the long run. Stay proactive and don’t wait until it’s too late.
You might be thinking that taking all these measures to protect your investment against flood damage will be expensive. You might also be thinking how can I ever afford this? But truth is, these preemptive costs are miniscule in comparison to losing everything in a flooding catastrophe.
As for the expense, many banks are realizing the danger that climate change and increased flooding risks present. Many are offering low fee loans and subsidies to help you prepare your investment property in event of a flood. Monthly payments are often extremely reasonable.
You can’t predict when a flood will threaten your investments, but you can take steps to limit your risk. Don’t sit around and wait for FEMA to update their maps; there are plenty of reliable flood risk assessments leading the way in flood protection. The time to act is now before the unpredictable waters strike.