Do you need flood insurance? Well, the answer is complicated unless your mortgage company is requiring you to purchase it, but we’ll give you some things to consider. You can buy coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private flood insurance companies when it makes sense. Residents of NJ have quite a few options when it comes to private flood insurance.
What’s the likelihood of suffering a flood loss?
Where you live is the primary factor that affects your chances of suffering damage from a flood, but here are some other considerations:
- The elevation of your home
- Flood mitigation at your home, including engineered flood vents, breakaway walls, helical piles, etc.
- Development in your area changing the flow of water
- How much warning will you receive before a flood
- Your ability to move your personal property to higher levels
- Things your town or community has done to mitigate against flood damage including building codes, sandbagging, levees, etc.
What is a flood zone?
Many people in NJ say “I don’t live in a flood zone”, but everyone is technically in a flood zone. A “special hazard flood zone” (e.g. ‘AE’ and ‘V’) is a zone with a higher probability of flooding, and your lender will require flood insurance if you live in one of these zones. However, just because you don’t live in a special hazard flood zone does not mean you aren’t vulnerable to flooding. According to FEMA 30% of all floods occur outside special hazard flood zones. It’s a good idea to look at a flood map to see how far the closest special hazard flood zone is to your house.
You also may be at risk of flood damage even if you do not live near a body of water. Development, drainage, snow-melt and extended rains all create a higher likelyhood of flood damage. The good news is that flood insurance is very affordable if you are outside a special hazard zone.
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